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.”
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."
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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."