Two games in, the Capitals are still looking for their first point on their California road trip after a 3-1 loss in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Here's why Washington lost.
A failed clear by T.J. Oshie
Late in the first period, Oshie went to the corner to retrieve a puck kicked away by Philipp Grubauer. He reached the puck with no one close to him. Evgeny Kuznetsov stood on the wall directly in front of him, poised to break the puck out if Oshie passed to him. He did not. Oshie held onto the puck for a full two seconds before he was finally pressured by Tyler Toffoli. He then attempted a cross-ice pass to Jakub Vrana who was in the neutral zone. The pass was blocked and never made it out of the defensive zone. Jeff Carter would score a few seconds later to give the Kings the 1-0 lead. The Caps could have cleared the zone on a simple play. Oshie elected to try something more difficult and it resulted in a goal for Los Angeles.
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Three shots for Trevor Lewis
Trevor Lewis was credited with four shots on goal. Three of those shots came on the same play as he rattled off three in quick succession on Philipp Grubauer, finally besting the Caps netminder on the third to score what would be the game-winning goal. Carter whipped a backhanded pass through the neutral zone to the tape of Lewis who drove into the Caps’ zone. He fired an innocent looking shot from the top of the faceoff circle, skated past Brooks Orpik and fired the rebound shot then finally tapped in the puck out of the air for the goal.
Not enough shots
This has been a theme for the Caps this season who rank dead last in the NHL in shots on goal per game. The team has been far more selective with their shots, looking for more high danger shots. That has worked for them to a point as they rank 12th in goals per game despite ranking 31st in shots. But when a team is trailing and manages only two shots on goal on three power play opportunities, that’s not enough. When a team is trailing and manages only five shots on goal in the third period, that’s not enough. Jonathan Quick played well in net for the Kings, but he wasn’t tested enough. There has to be a balance between being selective and getting enough pressure on net. They did not find that balance in Los Angeles.
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