- Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final
- Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again
- FAA investigating fireworks drone flights
- Pentagon: We’ll give Obama a drone strike with al-Baghdadi’s name on it
- Marine in Mexican custody to get day in court after 101 days
- Senate OKs San Antonio mayor as housing secretary
- NFL star likely fooled by Marine impostor who accepted first-class plane ticket
- Sen. Ted Cruz tweets Obama directions from fundraisers to border towns
- Israel hits key Hamas targets in Gaza offensive
- Ten-year sentence for New Orleans’ Nagin on graft charges
Capitals’ defensive breakdowns lead to first losing streak
Pair of setbacks after seven wins
Question of the Day
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Even the day after the Capitals' seven-game, season-opening winning streak ended, there were smiles and plenty of positivity around a first-place team that knew it just ran into some tough breaks and a hot goaltender.
But when Washington's road trip came to an end with Saturday's loss to the Vancouver Canucks, there was a very different vibe - that perhaps winning so much masked some mistakes.
"You go off and you win seven in a row or whatever, and maybe things get swept under the rug a little bit because you're kind of rolling," right wing Mike Knuble said after the 7-4 defeat. "It's always a good reality check at the beginning of the year that you've got to be on every night."
In a 2-1 loss to Edmonton on Thursday, the Capitals criticized themselves for taking a rash of penalties but generally came away happy with their performance. Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out that the final three games of the winning streak might have been the best three, signaling possibly that his team wasn't going to let one loss turn into two.
But at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, it got ugly with defensive breakdowns, a struggling penalty kill and more trips to the penalty box.
"We scored four but we were just bad defensively, gave them a lot of chances in the slot, didn't block a whole lot of shots, turned the puck over," defenseman Dennis Wideman said. "We just weren't sharp on our own end."
Sharpness wasn't always evident during the streak, either, but goaltending often kept Washington in games, whether it was Michal Neuvirth in the opener or Tomas Vokoun for several games after a rough start. Against the Canucks, forward Matt Hendricks said, the Caps "left our goalie out to dry" too often. Unstable play in front of Vokoun in the first then bled into the same in front of Neuvirth in the third, which ultimately sealed the first losing streak of the season.
"You win as a team and lose as a team, and we were all guilty [Saturday] of some guys in the first, some guys in the third," said Vokoun, who was pulled after the first period after allowing three goals on 17 shots. "It's not fun to lose like that. Sometimes it's part of the process."
That's what the Capitals can talk about and hope for moving forward - that giving up seven goals in the fashion they did will serve as a wake-up call about defensive-zone coverage, discipline in several areas and turnovers.
Washington still is 7-2-0, and Boudreau simply noted that "it's one out of 82 and we didn't play well." But his players were a little harsher about the need to fix problems before they lead to more losses.
"We just go back to the drawing board, like they say, and be focused and ready and ready to get back to work," Hendricks said. "Because there's definitely some things in our game that need to get better."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
It's yet another example of his lack of transparency
- GOP: Lerner warned IRS employees to hide information from Congress
- White House plans for bowling alley upgrades abruptly cancelled
- ISTOOK: Flying illegals home would be 99.5 percent cheaper than Obamas plan
- Obama requests $3.7 billion to fight surge of illegals
- Power grab: EPA wants to garnish wages of polluters
- Costco to re-stock Dinesh D'Souza's 'America' after public outry
- Obama bests Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in pool match
- CARSON: Health savings accounts far better than Obamacare
- Colorado man offers Obama a toke of marijuana a Rocky Mountain 'high'
- Court orders Chicago to pay NRA's legal fees
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs
U.S.-Ghana World Cup opener