The Caps were not able to earn their second win of their Canadian road trip on Sunday as they fell 2-1 to the Calgary Flames.
The end result is a 1-2 mark on their west coast trip north of the wall.
Why did the Capitals fall short against the Flames?
RELATED: NEW NHL POWER RANKINGS
1. Mike Smith
Philipp Grubauer will steal a lot of the attention for this game, and rightly so, but Smith was also excellent in net for the Flames as he turned aside 30 of the Caps’ 31 shots for the game.
Only Jakub Vrana was able to solve Smith with Washington’s lone goal.
2. Zone entries
The Caps struggled immensely trying to get the puck into Calgary’s defensive zone.
This may be some of the effects of the loss of Marcus Johansson who was very good at carrying the puck for zone entries. Not only did that their struggles affect the Caps offensively on Sunday, but it also cost them in the most critical moment of the game.
As Dmitry Orlov carries the puck in, he is challenged by the defense. Rather than chip the puck in the corner and make his teammates and the defense work for it, he instead tries an ill-advised pass that is immediately blocked away by Mark Giordano and sent in the other direction. Calgary would score the game-winner on the resulting rush.
3. Special teams
There’s a word to describe Calgary’s penalty kill and that word is “bad.”
The Flames allowed a power play goal in five straight games and two power play goals in each of their last three games prior to Sunday. Yet, the Caps were not able to take advantage and score on either of their power plays to take an early lead.
On the other end of the ice, Washington’s efforts to tie the game fell short thanks in large part to the three penalties they took in the third period.
The most damaging was a too many men penalty with less than three minutes left to go in the game. It’s hard to make a real push to tie it up when you’re shorthanded in the most critical moments.