Over the course of a rough month for the Capitals, offense has been tough to come by. After scoring only one goal Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Washington's eighth loss in 11 games, the team was running out of answers.
"I think we are generating the chances," Michal Kempny said. "We are trying to shoot the pucks on the net and we just, right now, we are [having a] hard time to score the goal."
“I feel like it’s mostly puck luck," Lars Eller said. "I think we’re generating 10-plus good scoring chances every game and right now it feels like they’re just not going in. For whatever reason, we have to work really hard for our goals right now. It’s not coming easy for us."
The refrain for the past few games has been that the goals will come. The chances are there, the goals will come.
The tone was different after Wednesday's loss with frustration mounting.
"There’s some that seem like they should be going in," head coach Peter Laviolette said. "They’re through a seam into an empty net, it’s missing the post, it’s going over, the goalie is making a save. Whatever it is, it’s not happening."
On Monday, the Capitals were shut out by a superb performance from Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner. On Wednesday, it was Sharks goalie James Reimer who stood tall with 32 saves on 33 shots. Daniel Sprong's tally snapped a goalless streak of 100:14 for Washington. HIs was the only goal for the team in the past two games.
Adding to the offensive issues are the continued struggles of the power play which has now failed to score in its past 16 opportunities.
"We made good plays, we got the looks that we pre-scouted and wanted to work through some things and I think it’s the same thing," John Carlson said. "It’s super frustrating no matter how you look at it, how you feel about it. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. That is not going to win us anything."
But whether it has been a bad power play, great goaltending or just plain bad puck luck, it all has befallen the Caps over the course of this 11 game slump to the point where now, they are left with many questions but few answers of how to turn the offense around.
"They’re just not falling right now," Sprong said. "Power play had some really good looks, 5-on-5 we had good looks, but they’re not going in right now. I think we’ve got to get a dirty one and then I think with this team that we have, we know we can score, just right now they’re not falling for us. There’s going to be a game where it falls for us and it’s going to break wide open.”
"I don’t think anybody expects this to go on forever, but it’s tough," Carlson said. "It’s tough as a player. I’m sure it’s tough as a coach too."