Chance after chance the Capitals got on the power play came and went. Each time red lights behind the nets at Verizon Center remained out.
Because of that — more so than some bad bounces and a bad line change — the Caps are down two games to none in their second-round series against the Lightning following their 3-2 overtime loss in Game 2 on Sunday night.
Tampa Bay’s game-winner was the result of a brutal line change, and an outlet pass from Randy Jones hit Teddy Purcell and then got to Vinny Lecavalier, who beat Michal Neuvirth top shelf.
But the Caps should never have been in overtime and likely would not have even been in a position to lose had it not been for their 0-for-6 performance on the power play.
“I think that’s fair to say. We had the guys that are very highly skilled and have been on power plays their whole life and know what to do when we go out there,” veteran right wing Mike Knuble said. “At times we were doing the right things; at times we weren’t. It was ugly at times. But it’s just finding a loose puck and getting one in. That was the difference tonight.”
Woes on the power play have been a major problem for the Caps in the playoffs dating to last year’s first-round exit at the hands of the Canadiens. After Sunday night, the Caps dropped to 0-for-11 in the series, 3-for-27 in these playoffs. Including that Montreal series they’re 4 for their last 60 during the playoffs.
Knuble pointed out that it’s not for lack of effort, and the Caps even managed 12 shots this time.
“We’re trying. We’re trying different things; we’re trying to make things work,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Obviously it’s not. It’s not like they’re bad penalty-killers — they stopped [34 of 35] in Pittsburgh. We just gotta keep going at it.”
That quest continues Tuesday in Game 3 at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa as the Caps try to climb out of this big hole.
“Series not over,” left wing Alex Ovechkin said. “We’re going there, and we’re gonna win two games. It’s gonna be hard, but we’re in this situation. We have to win.”
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