The Capitals had a rough first period in Colorado and found themselves down 2-0 after 20 minutes. The Avalanche have skill and speed, but the biggest factor in the Caps' poor start was the Caps themselves.
Washington made multiple mistakes with the puck, especially when trying to transition from defense to offense.
Colorado scored 17 seconds into the game, but the opportunity all came from a turnover in the neutral zone by Brooks Orpik.
Another problem the Caps are having is making the simple play.
John Carlson had the puck in the defensive zone with Brett Connolly right in front him. Instead of the short, easy pass, he goes for the long distance pass to Tom Wilson who is standing all the way at the other blue line.
Long distance passes can catch opposing teams off guard, but they are difficult to pull off. Wilson could not control the pass and it lead to a turnover for Colorado.
In another example, Alex Ovechkin has the puck in the defensive zone. He has Jay Beagle right in front of him who can take it out of the zone. Instead of making the easy pass, however, Ovechkin goes for the homerun pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov who is near the offensive blue line. He's not open, he's covered by not one, but two Avalanche players.
The puck went for icing meaning another defensive zone draw for Washington.
Here's another example with Matt Niskanen choosing a cross-ice pass over the easy pass to Devante Smith-Pelly.
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Niskanen goes for the pass to Kuznetsov who was just coming off the bench and was not ready for it. Colorado took the puck and got a shot on goal as a result.
More often than not, the easy play is the right play and the Caps just aren't making those easy plays.