Caps drop four in a row: what is going on with the team?

The Washington Capitals started the season strong at 6-0-3(wins, losses, overtime losses) and have since dropped four straight games. While there have been a slew of hindrances to affect the team such as four players, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ilya Samsonov, and Dmitry Orlov, were all on the Covid list, a week off of playing, injuries, and a new coaching system to learn. While some of these are things that plague every team (injuries, Covid, etc.) Players are payed a lot of money in order to adapt to such scenarios. The season is a shorter season, so every point matters. The team started as a top 5 team and early cup contender and has since fizzled out to a mediocre team. They went from leading the East division to 4th in the division and tied with Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders.

While many people point to every little thing they can, to make sense of the fall, it can be put on two things, a lack of defensive hustle, and long breaks in between games. There has been a lack of hustle on the defensive side such as giving up a short handed goal while having a 5-3 power play, they don’t get the puck out of the zone cleanly, and sloppy passing. This gives opponents a good chance to get a second and third opportunity to score. Because of the inexperience at goal for the Capitals, this can be deadly for the team as opponents will take advantage of second chances. Now to discuss the break between games.

A team may go a day or two without a game but they still stay up to game speed because its just a day or two between games. When a team goes a week without a game, it takes a toll on the body because then they have to get back up to game speed which may take a game or two. This is detrimental for multiple reasons. The first reason is every point matters in a shortened season. The second reason is when they’re not up to game speed, their body’s may not be used to the physicality of the game and injuries may be more easily gotten. The third reason is the East division has a lot of phenomenal goaltending so a player who is going against a Tukka Rask, Carter Hart, Semyon Varlamov, ect and may get in their head if they can’t get a puck to the back of the net. This could start a cold streak, which could make a player less into the game because they think they’re not as good as they really are.

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