On back-to-back plays, the Capitals couldn’t even get set up on the power play — their fifth of the game. Both times they went offside and were just unable to get anything going.
It was one of those nights Friday for the Caps on the man advantage, as they went 0-for-5 in Game 1, a 4-2 loss to the Lightning.
“We had some chances. The power play, we had some chances,” forward Jason Chimera said. “The power play could’ve buried them, and you can win any game.”
But they didn’t, and the problems varied. On that final opportunity they struggled to set up a couple times. A few minutes earlier they didn’t manage a shot and gave up a nice short-handed chance for Tampa Bay.
“I think we have to do a better job,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We weren’t getting to any loose pucks once there was a shot and we weren’t shooting the puck, which is what we were talking about — get the pucks on the net and crash the net and simplify the game.”
The Caps knew what they were in for against the Lightning’s penalty kill, too. The Penguins — albeit without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — went 1-for-35 in the first round vs. Tampa Bay.
Structurally, the Lightning are obviously doing something right, more than just Dwayne Roloson being the best penalty killer. But coach Guy Boucher based a lot of it on luck — and his players doing a lot of homework by watching video.
“But look at their power play; they still had a lot of time possession in our zone, they made great plays, they could’ve scored some goals,” Boucher said, continuing his complimentary tone toward the Caps. “We’re not kidding ourselves — they’re gonna score some goals on the power play this series for sure. I would be shocked that the next game if they didn’t score one.”
They probably should have scored at least one in this one. Alexander Semin clanked one in the first period, and the Caps could have taken a 3-1 lead if they scored on Pavel Kubina’s hooking minor midway through the second period. But they didn’t, and Steven Stamkos cashed in on a Lightning power play later in the period.
“We didn’t score goals but I think we have chances,” Alex Ovechkin said. “Sasha hit the post in the first period and, again, power play’s the key — they score a goal, Stamkos score a goal.”
The Caps know they need to stay out of the penalty box — but getting the power play clicking might be even more important, especially given Tampa Bay’s propensity to take penalties themselves.
Fixing that problem could be simple, too, as the Caps managed just five shots in that 8:45 of power-play time.
“I think we need to shoot more,” Boudreau said.