Although a lot went wrong for the Capitals in Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to the Sharks, Coach Barry Trotz said he thought the game turned on a single play late in the second period.
San Jose defenseman Brent Burns capitalized on a defensive zone mix-up and sneaked a seeing-eye puck past Braden Holtby, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead that would not be challenged.
“I thought the second goal really hurt us,” Trotz said. “The way they were playing, [when] they got the second goal, I thought it would be a little bit of a tough hole to come out of because I thought they were playing a real solid game.”
Trotz added: “For the most part it was a fairly close game. Give a lot of credit to San Jose. I didn’t think we played poorly at all. I didn’t think we converted on some chances. They did a really good job defending so you had to really fight to get into the interior. I don’t think we had the desperation in our game until the third period, that we needed [earlier].”
On Burns’ goal, Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson momentarily ended up on the same side of the defensive zone, allowing Burns enough time and space to get off a good shot. It also didn’t help that the puck hit a couple of things on the way into the net.
“He was going high, and it hits Burky’s stick and [Brooks Orpik’s] leg and it goes in,” Holtby said. “When you put traffic to the net and you put pucks on net, they go in usually.”
Trotz said there needed to be more communication between Burakovsky and Wilson.
“Two wingers got on the same side there,” Trotz said. “There wasn’t a lot of communication. And they bumped it back to Burns, and Burns is the top scoring defenseman. He’s got a hell of a shot and there a little bit of screen on Holts, and that thing just jumped by him. We got to have a little more detail, a little more communication on that one.”
The Capitals had a handful of scoring opportunities in the third period, including a point-blank shot that Alex Ovechkin fired wide and a late power play was frustrated yet again by Martin Jones and the Sharks’ penalty killers.
“In the third period, we had some good looks,” Trotz said. “We had some opportunities and didn’t convert on them. We were chasing the game a bit.”
But, in Trotz’s estimation, it was all uphill for the Caps after Burns’ tally.
“They had a lot of desperation,” Trotz said. “They had been on a three game losing streak and they had a tough [5-0 loss] against Pittsburgh at home [on Saturday]. They were dialed in. You could tell their top guys were dialed in.”
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