The Capitals blew a four-goal lead for the first time in five years and lost to the Anaheim Ducks 6-5 in at Capital One Arena on Sunday, snapping the team's seven-game win streak.
Here are five reasons why the Caps lost:
1. The Penalty Kill
Washington has been better in this area lately, but consecutive boarding calls on defenseman Dmitry Orlov in the third period led to power-play goals by Pontus Aberg and Hampus Lindholm and allowed the Ducks to tie the game 5-5. Washington hadn’t allowed a power-play goal in its past five games. The Capitals last blew a four-goal lead in an April 2013 game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington ultimately won that game 6-5, courtesy of a Mike Green overtime goal.
2. Careless Turnovers
The Capitals really gave Anaheim life in the second period up 5-1. A turnover by Evgeny Kuznetsov in the neutral zone on an outlet pass from John Carlson allowed the Ducks to go the other way. Rickard Rakell knocked a rebound past Braden Holtby to make it 5-3. It was Anaheim’s second goal in 55 seconds and set the stage for the thirds period rally. On the go-ahead goal at 14:55 of the third period, Ryan Getzlaf stripped Lars Eller in the neutral zone just after a Washington power-play expired and he set up Aberg’s goal to make it 6-5.
3. Ryan Miller
Down 3-1 at 13:19 of the first period after a Tom Wilson goal, the Ducks pulled starting goalie John Gibson and replaced him with veteran Ryan Miller, who made 19 of 21 shots and stopped all 13 he faced in the third period to give the Ducks a chance to rally.
4. Bad Penalties
The boarding calls on Orlov drew the ire of Washington’s bench, but he put himself in bad position on both plays. Up 5-3 in the third period, it gave Anaheim more life than it already had. Orlov was also in bad position on the second-period goal by Andrew Cogliano that made it 5-2 and started the comeback.
5. Stars and Milestones
There were little positives from this one. But Nicklas Backstrom gave the Caps a 1-0 lead 41 seconds into it when he slammed home an Alex Ovechkin pass on a 2-on-1 rush. That gave Backstrom 219 career goals for Washington and pushed him past Mike Ridley (218) for fourth on the franchise goals scored list. Backstrom, too, is on fire with eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past three games.
Meanwhile, defenseman John Carlson had the secondary assist on Backstrom’s goal. That was career point 361, which pushed Carlson past Mike Green for fifth-most by a defenseman in franchise history. He added a second assist with the shot on Wilson’s tipped power-play goal.
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