Over the course of 82 games, there are bound to be some bad ones in the bunch. Wednesday was the first stinker of the season for the Caps who were handed a 6-0 blowout loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.

There were plenty of reasons to explain why the Caps lost this game. It was the second leg of a back-to-back for Washington against a team that had not played since Saturday, Pheonix Copley was in net playing in just the third NHL game of his career and it was New Jersey’s home opener.

All of that could perhaps help explain a loss. But when the Caps were down and out, they were not able to lean on a strong performance from their goalie to get them back into it. They could not get things going on the power play. When they were down and out in the third period, the Devils were not about to take their foot off the gas. Instead, they went for the throat.

That’s the challenge the Caps face this year as the defending champions.

“I think it’s going to be like that all season,” Lars Eller said. “Teams are going to want to beat the champs and show their best. They got a lot of energy going tonight and we didn’t have as much of it.”

It’s hard to get up for 82 games, but the fact is every team is going to get up to play the Caps each and every game.


There’s no room for bad starts, there’s no room for overlooking the second leg of a back-to-back. Every team is going to give Washington their best shot.

“Years past, I remember playing games against the team that won before and using it as a measuring stick and something you talk about as a focus game,” Matt Niskanen said. “We’ll have to learn how to deal with that.”