Washington Capitals players said it for days: The penalties need to stop.
“We’re spending too much in the penalty box,” defenseman Roman Hamrlik said Wednesday. I don’t think you’re going to win too many games when you spend too much time in the box.”
Thursday night the problem started early, with Mathieu Perreault taking a penalty just 33 seconds in. On his first shift of the game.
A series of penalties in short succession in the second period led to two straight Montreal Canadiens goals. The Caps fell to 11-for-18 on the season on the penalty kill.
“Our penalty kill wasn’t good again,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “It seems like plays that we’re so used to making we’re not making, we can’t make ‘em or we try to make ‘em and something happens to it.”
A lack of discipline and an ineffective penalty kill is a hazardous mix. The Caps have taken 19 minor penalties through three games.
“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “They’ve been scoring a lot of goals on us on power plays.”
Staying out of the penalty box would help alleviate some of the undue stress. But there are some theories as to what’s going wrong on the penalty kill.
“I think that we need pressure a little bit more.,” Alzner said. “We’re not getting the blocks that we normally would get; they’re getting past us. We’re not really intercepting pucks like we used to, normally we get our sticks on a lot more pucks and we haven’t. Today two shots that bounced out perfectly to their backdoor guy, that’s one of those things where why is that happening right now? They’re a combination, I think, of us not being aggressive enough and then at the same time pucks kind of finding their guys.”
It doesn’t help that the Caps are 2-for-12 on the power play this season. “We’ve been killed on special teams,” left wing Wojtek Wolski said.