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“Unless I see something crazy in the video that I didn’t notice, they had no chances that we didn’t give them. None,” the coach said. “So we made a couple mistakes, but other than that, I thought we played a good, solid hockey game. Yeah, there’s things we can do better, of course, and we’ll address that, but I don’t look at that game as that it got away from us, because we were playing well.”

It got away from the Caps fast when Kris Letang and Kunitz scored in rapid succession in the second period to turn a tie score into 4-2. Backstrom said if he and his teammates were able to keep it tied for longer, it would have been a different game.

“Let’s start with the second period,” Ovechkin said. “I think the game was very interesting and I think we just lose the second period, they score two goals and it was hard to come back.”

Darn near impossible given the Penguins‘ talent advantage and a solid game by Vokoun, who spent last season with the Caps. What Brouwer called “desperation mode” in the third period gave way to chances and a power-play goal that kept it from looking like more of a lopsided result.

Oates will show his team the positives, but the negatives were glaring enough for players to realize in the moments after yet another loss.

“No one plays a perfect game, especially against these guys. They got great players and are going to make you pay,” Carlson said. “We’re just going to have to work harder now. It’s not going our way; that’s the only way to get out of it is to just work harder, everyone in here.”