Capitals

Quick Links

Justin Williams has plenty of chances but nothing to show for it against Sharks

Justin Williams has plenty of chances but nothing to show for it against Sharks

The San Jose Sharks did not give up very many offensive opportunities to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Every chance the Caps did have, however, seemed to fall on the stick of Justin Williams. Yet, both he and the Caps walked away with nothing to show for it in a 3-0 loss.

Williams finished the game tied for the team lead in shots on goal with four. He also had one blocked shot and one missed shot. Being unable to finish his chances has been an unfortunate pattern this season for the veteran winger as he has only one goal and one assist.

"Don't remind me," Williams said when asked after the game about his missed opportunities.

"Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't," Williams said, "And sometimes you have a great opportunity and you're not able to capitalize and another time you might throw a puck at the net, it might go off someone's butt and in the net."

RELATED: Sharks snap Caps' win streak behind stifling defense

For his part, head coach Barry Trotz does not seem too concerned over Williams' current struggles because of the quality chances he's generating.

"[Williams is] playing really, really good. I think he's trying to drive whatever line he's on. He's playing that real grind game where he's going to the front of the net, he's doing all the things that you want Justin to do. Just keep doing them and they'll start going in the net for us."

The average NHL shooting percentage is usually somewhere around 9.0 percent. Williams' current shooting percentage is at 5.0 percent. That's below the normal average, but not abnormally below to the point where you can simply dismiss his struggles as bad puck luck. Really the biggest issue with Williams is that he doesn't seem to be shooting enough.

Through 12 games, Williams has only managed 20 shots on goal. That puts him on pace for about 136 shots this season which would be his lowest since the 2008-09 season in which he only played 44 games.

Williams is putting himself in the right position and the chances are there. Now he just needs to find a way to get more rubber on net and finish those chances. He couldn't on Tuesday and it cost his team.

"It's been certainly a tough start to the year for me with regards to offense, but I'm going to keep working at it," Williams said. "Obviously, it's all fine and dandy when you're winning games as we have, but when you're losing it's obviously glaring. [I'm] doing my best to work hard and try and find the back of the net because I know this team needs me to do that."

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz on Holtby: 'He’s had to catch a moving train'

Quick Links

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

RELATED LINKS: 

Quick Links

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

The Caps put together their best performance of the series Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

The win pulled Washington even with Columbus in the series 2-2.

Here's how the Caps got the big win.

4 Reasons why the Capitals beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

1. Tom Wilson factors in the offense

Wilson’s hands are good for more than just punching.

He proved that again on Thursday as he scored the first goal for the second consecutive game. Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson provided the pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky. With Bobrovsky scrambling in the crease, Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck back to Wilson who fired the one-timer past the Columbus netminder.

In the first two games of the series, Wilson had no points and no shots. In the last two games, he has two goals and 13 shots on goal.

2. A great keep-in by John Carlson

We saw how dangerous it was when penalty killers fail to clear the puck in Game 1 when the Caps failed to clear in the third period leading to the game-tying power play goal.

In Game 4, the roles were reversed. Trying to kill off an Artemi Panarin penalty, Cam Atkinson attempted to clear the puck with the backhand. Carlson skillfully corralled the puck out of the air at the blue line to keep it in the zone.

The power play was able to reset and T.J. Oshie scored the rebound goal soon after.

3. Braden Holtby closes the door to finish the second period

After the Caps took the 2-0 lead, the Blue Jackets made a late push to try to pull one back.

In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Columbus had 13 shot attempts, five of which were not net. Several of those shots were high-quality opportunities, but Holtby came up with the big saves that the team was not getting earlier in the series.

His play ensured the Caps took the 2-0 lead to the locker room.

4. Alex Ovechkin extends the lead to three

Washington entered the third period up 2-0. In each of the first three games, the Caps held a two-goal lead and allowed the Blue Jackets to battle back and tie the score. Even with a two-goal lead, it still felt at the start of the third that the next goal would decide the game. If Columbus pulled within one and got the crowd back on their side, we have seen what that momentum can do for them.

This time, however, Ovechkin struck first. After a board battle behind the net, the puck trickled out to the faceoff circle. Ovechkin grabbed it and quickly snapped the puck past Bobrovsky before anyone could react.

The goal gave Washington their first three-goal lead of the series and shut the Blue Jackets’ comeback down before it could begin.

RELATED LINKS: