News, notes and quotes as the Caps return to action tonight in Tampa following a day off and a dinner cruise with players’ dads on Friday:
Outworked, outplayed: The Caps pulled no punches after their 4-1 loss on Thursday night against the Panthers, their worst since a 5-2 setback against the Rangers on Nov. 3.
“Bottom line is you win some and lose some and we deserved to lose that one,” Caps right wing Justin Williams said. “We weren’t good enough in a lot of aspects. We didn’t get a lot of second chances and as a result we didn’t score a lot of goals.”
The Caps have scored just one 5-on-5 goal in their last three games, with Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal late in Thursday’s loss accounting for their only offense.
“They won more battles,” Williams said. “Nothing is more frustrating than going in (the offensive zone), going out and changing (lines). That’s how you get tired. We looked tired because we didn’t have a lot of time in the offensive zone and that’s the fun zone.”
The Caps were outshot 26-21 in the loss, including 16-8 midway through the contest.
“They had more of the battle,” Trotz said. “They got the saves they needed to. We had some good looks and some fair chances on the power play (including a Marcus Johansson opportunity on the doorstep stopped by Al Montoya) and we just don’t find the back of the net and we ended up chasing.
Bouncing back: The Caps have not lost back-to-back games all season, going 7-0-0 following losses. They set a goal at the start of the season to go all year without consecutive losses.
The Lightning are 7-5-1 at home and the Caps are 8-3-1 on the road.
“This is a terrific group,” Trotz said. “They have a lot of pride. Tampa is very good at home and we’ll need to bring our ‘A’ game because what we brought (Thursday night) wasn’t good enough. We’re starting to play some really good teams and we need to make sure our desperation is as high as the teams we are playing.”
The Caps follow up tonight’s game with a visit to Pittsburgh on Monday night, followed by home games against Ottawa and Tampa.
Lineup shuffle: Since Trotz has a policy of getting everyone in a game during the dads’ trip, look for Stan Galiev and Andre Burakovsky to return to the lineup and for Chris Brown and possibly Michael Latta to come out. Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to return to action after getting the night off in Sunrise, Fla., on Thursday.