The Capitals went to Dallas looking to erase the memory of Thursday's ugly loss to St. Louis, but instead they were handed a 2-1 overtime loss by the Stars. The loss was Washington's third straight, marking the first time the Caps have lost three in a row all season. They now sit tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for first in the Metropolitan Division with 52 points, though Washington has a game in hand.
Here are five reasons the Caps lost to Dallas.
Two first period penalties
The Caps were caught sleeping in the third period of Thursday’s game in St. Louis as the Blues outshot them 14-2, scored twice and turned what was a close game into a farce. There seemed to be a bit of a carryover in Dallas on Friday.
Washington actually looked pretty good at the start, but a Matt Niskanen hooking penalty early did not allow the Caps to build any momentum. A second penalty resulted in Dallas’ first goal. Through the first 20 minutes, Washington was outshot 15-5, had taken two penalties and drawn none and were fortunate to be down only 1-0.
A failed clear
When you have a chance to clear the puck on a penalty kill and fail, it always comes back to haunt you.
The Stars took a 1-0 lead in the first period off a power play goal from Tyler Seguin. The goal should never have happened, however, as Travis Boyd had a chance to clear the puck out of the zone seconds before hand. The puck was on his stick with no one around him, but he took his eye off of it and lost control as he turned to fire it down the ice. The Stars recovered and scored soon after.
The power play
Stop me if you've heard this before, but the power play came up short for the Caps in this game with no goals on three opportunities. To be fair, the power play did seem to play better as the game went along, but Washington had two power plays in the third period in a 1-1 game and failed to score on either opportunity. With the game on the line, the Caps have to find a way to score there.
Washington now has one goal on their last 27 power plays opportunities through their last nine games. It's hard to win with a 3.7-percent power play.
You could tell watching the game that the ice was not great. The players seemed to have trouble controlling the puck and it got worse as the game went along. For a Caps team that likes passing the puck and setting up quality opportunities rather than firing the puck on net, those are not ideal conditions.
When the puck is hard to control, you are better off shooting the puck as early and as much as possible because it is hard to control passes and set up plays. Washinton's third power play of the night was their best as they were able to finally set up their power play, but when the puck kept bouncing on them when they tried to shoot including one bounce on Ovechkin that caused him to whiff on a dangerous opportunity.
Missing the back door
Seguin's second goal of the night was the game-winner as he fired a shot from the backdoor after a great play by Alexander Radulov to set him up. In three-on-three overtime, defensive responsibilities are largely man on man. Nicklas Backstrom was initially in good position in front of his net, but when Niskanen covered Radulov, he needed to keep track of Seguin. Seguin went to the backdoor and Backstrom stayed where he was giving Seguin a wide-open shot to finish the game.
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