Capitals

Quick Links

How a nine-second span cost the Caps two points

usatsi_10448368.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

How a nine-second span cost the Caps two points

If you blinked, you may have missed it. The Caps were leading the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday 2-1, but in a flash in the second period, the Kings took a 3-2 lead before a stunned Capital One Arena.

In a span of just nine seconds, Los Angeles scored the game-tying and go-ahead goals over the Capitals in a stretch that ultimately defined the game.

“It's a 3-2 game,” Barry Trotz said. “They get two goals in nine seconds against the top defensive team in the league, you're playing with danger.”

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE LATEST CAPITALS EXTRA PODCAST BREAKING DOWN CAPS-KINGS

They played with danger and they lost because of it.

How did it happen? How does a team allow two goals in just nine seconds?

In the NHL, more often than not, mistakes end up in the back of the net. In that critical span for the Caps, two mistakes were made and the Kings made Washington pay in both cases.

With the Caps leading 2-1 in the second period, Braden Holtby went behind the net to retrieve the puck. He fired the puck off the wall, but there were no Caps on the other end of the pass. That set up Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid for a quick shot. The shot deflected off of Jonny Brodzinski and in.

Holtby said after the game that the play was the result of a “miscommunication.”

“I don't know if I just misread if our winger was playing center or we didn't have a winger back or whatever,” Holtby said. “It's just one of those plays we can look at. It wasn't a flubbed pass or anything — I put it where I wanted to put it — just a little crossed up and caught me on a deflection coming back."

On the very next shift off the ensuing faceoff, Madison Bowey allowed Jussi Jokinen in behind him as he made a bad read on the play. It happened quickly, but it was all the time Jokinen needed as he took a pass for the short breakaway and tucked his shot through the five-hole of Holtby.

‘"I think it was a little bit anticipation there and the read wasn't the correct one at the right time of the game," Bowey said. "That happens, but obviously that stuff, I've got to get that out of my game and it definitely did end up costing us the game here, the two points. So it's something that I just have to put behind me and tomorrow's a new day."

MORE CAPITALS: 3 REASONS WHY THE CAPS LOST TO THE KINGS

The mistake was obvious, but Trotz was not overly critical of his rookie defenseman.

"There's mistakes in our game all the time," Trotz said. "Young, old, there's certain things off draws that we try to execute, we just didn't get it done. He recognized it and we'll move on."

The team will move on, but it could not get past that nine-second span in the second period on Thursday.

In a league in which mistakes cost teams goals, the Caps gave up two critical ones against one of the top defensive teams in the league. That is not a recipe for success and it cost them two points.

Said Trotz, "It's a game of mistakes and they capitalized on one more than we did and we're sitting here with a loss."

Quick Links

NHL Power Rankings: The Caps are singing the bye week blues

usatsi_10551074.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The Caps are singing the bye week blues

A Capitals team that struggles after lengthy breaks is now indeed struggling after its return from the bye week. Since returning on Thursday against the New Jersey Devils, the Caps have lost three straight games including two at home with only two points to show for their efforts.

Heading into the bye, Washington looked like one of the top teams in the NHL with 14 wins in 19 games. Now, they have taken a step back and are working at returning to the level they were playing just a week ago.

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

Oh, and to make matters worse, the Caps do not play again until Thursday and then are off for the All-Star break.

It's Jan. 22 and Washington has only two more games this month. Even if they do figure things out on Thursday against the Florida Panthers, they will have to figure it out all over again when they return from the All-Star break on Jan. 31 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

So where do the Caps rank after their recent slide and how far could they fall if they do not right the ship? Find out here in this week's NHL Power Rankings!

Quick Links

Think Jakub Vrana's ice time shows Barry Trotz was unhappy with his play? Think again

vrana_capture.png
USA TODAY Sports

Think Jakub Vrana's ice time shows Barry Trotz was unhappy with his play? Think again

It was a bit of a surprise to see Jakub Vrana in the lineup against the Philadelphia Flyers. On Saturday in practice, Barry Trotz mixed his lines up and it appeared that Vrana would be the odd-man out. On Sunday, however, when the team took to the ice for warmups prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Vrana lined up on the fourth line with Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelly.

Did the near scratch spark Vrana to more production? Not exactly.

RELATED: HERE'S WHY THE CAPS LOST TO PHILADELPHIA

Vrana played a career-low 6:25 against the Flyers. He had zero shot attempts or hits. There were only two stats on his stat line from the final box score: One giveaway and one drawn penalty.

Despite that, Trotz was complimentary of the 21-year-old forward following the game.

"What I like about Jake, he competed," Trotz said. "I know he doesn't have the minutes tonight, but he competed and that's what the message was. I met with him this morning and a little bit on the ice the other day and I just said the skill doesn't come out unless that level of desperation and compete is there night in, night out and then you'll have production. He didn't get a lot of ice time, but I was happy with his effort."

Trotz said Vrana's ice time was low because he the team was "hard matching" later in the game against Philadelphia. It was not because of how he played.

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FOR CAPS-FLYERS

But ultimately, the key is to get Vrana producing again and the fourth line is not the best place to spark that. Vrana has only one point in his last 12 games which is why it seemed to make sense that he would be a healthy scratch on Sunday. For a player with his offensive skill, it is harder for him to make an impact on that back line given the limited minutes and the more defensive role. Ultimately he has to play in the top-nine in order to reach his potential on a game by game basis.

If Trotz wanted to spark more compete and more effort from Vrana, the move to the fourth line may have done the trick. But did he play well enough to warrant moving back into the top-nine? That's the ultimate question.