What’s happening with the Caps?
Two games up, two games down and the Capitals are still looking for their first point on their California road trip after a 3-1 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday and a 4-0 loss to the Ducks two nights prior. For the second straight season the Capitals go into their third game of the three game California swing looking for their first points of the trip. What is happening with the Caps?
First thing is not enough shots on goal. This has been a theme for the Caps this season who rank last in the NHL in shots on goal per game. The Capitals put just 26 shots on goal up against the Kings, and only two shots on three power play opportunities. They put up 36 shots on goal against the Ducks, however if you watch the shot selection there was not many quality shots. A lot of the shots came from the point with no traffic in front of the net, or they were dump in shots to get the counter to tick higher. Another 34 shots were put in net Saturday outdoors against the Leafs in which the Caps posted five goals in a 5-2 win. Going back to last Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Senators the Caps posted just 22 shots on net. The fluctuation of shots on goal needs to become more consistent for the Caps to get back on track.
Goal tending has been the obvious issue for the Capitals. Braden Holtby had lost six straight games going into Saturday’s outdoor game in which he won 5-2. However Holtby gave up three goals on nine shots against the Ducks in the first game of the road trip and was pulled. Holtby now has lost seven of his last eight games. Braden’s goals against average and save percentage are climbing in the wrong direction. A former Vezina tropy winner and a goalie tied for the record for most wins in a season is obviously struggling. Its time to give more of a split between Grubauer and Holtby until Holtby gets his groove back between the pipes. Check out more about the goalies here in this story. http://marylandsportsblog.com/caps-turn-grubauer-bit-might-best/
On the back end of defense the Capitals are using two rookies in Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey. They also have players in Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen who are getting older, slower and not producing points like they have in the past. The lone bright spots are John Carlson and Dimitry Orlov. Both players are putting up nice numbers but are split up with seperate partners on the defensive pairings.