The Capitals’ Super Bowl Sunday wasn't all that super.
In a disheartening 4-1 loss to the Senators, they were outplayed in seemingly every facet of the game as they dropped to 26-15-9 on the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the afternoon affair:
New year slump continues
The Capitals have had some trends since Jan. 1 and they're not good ones.
They are now 6-9-2 since 2022 began and many worrying trends, including goaltending and offensive firepower, have persisted. They've tallied just 14 points in 17 games since the new year, about a 67-point pace over an 82-game season.
The offense has taken a dip, the defense has had a few too many breakdowns and the goaltending has been inconsistent. Whatever the fixes are, the Capitals haven't found them out this year.
Samsonov starts again
The Capitals turned to Ilya Samsonov for the afternoon for his second-straight start. With Vitek Vanecek still on the shelf with an upper-body injury, Pheonix Copley served as the team’s backup.
In Samsonov’s fifth appearance of the month, he stopped 22 of 26 shots in the loss. He followed up a nice 42-save performance against the Canadiens with Sunday’s performance, dropping his record to 2-5-1 in his last eight decisions.
It’s unclear how long Vanecek will remain away from the team, but Laviolette said he’s progressing. Until that time comes, however, it appears to be Samsonov’s net.
The Capitals kept the line of Joe Snively, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson together for another game after Snively’s two-goal performance against the Canadiens on Thursday.
And as a trio, the line produced some much-needed offensive chances. At five-on-five, they attempted eight shots and out-attempted their opponents 13-5. At least for now, the Capitals appear to have found a spark that works.
It’s unclear who will draw out whenever T.J. Oshie returns to the lineup, but Snively is making a case that it shouldn’t be him.
Special teams carry second period
The Capitals’ power play has been a spot for criticism all season long, and deservedly so, but they scored early in the period on a Nicklas Backstrom tally to make it 2-1.
Then late in the period, the Capitals killed off a 5-on-3 power play for the Senators (with some help from the post) in a swing that could’ve ended things early for Ottawa.
While the Senators took a two-goal lead late in the period, the Capitals’ special teams kept it close in the second period.
A period to forget
The Capitals’ Super Sunday didn’t start off all that super, which set a tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Alex Formenton scored short-handed just five minutes into the game on a Capitals’ power play that went nowhere. Then, 10 minutes later, Adam Gaudette scored after a defensive breakdown by the Capitals in their own zone that made the score 2-0. There wasn’t much netminder Ilya Samsonov could do to stop Gaudette, who put the Capitals in a hole early.
Washington was outshot 12-7 in the first 20 minutes as the fast start it was hoping for didn’t come to fruition.