Frustration mounts as Caps find home wins hard to come by


It has been a rough 2022 for the Capitals thus far. Since the calendar turned, Washington is not even .500 with an overall record of 8-12-2. Normally, a good way to get out of a slump is with some home-cooking, especially for a team like the Caps who have been dominant at home for several years. But home has not been kind to Washington of late and frustration over the team's inability to pick up points at Capital One Arena is starting to show.

"I think guys will probably leave the rink angry tonight," head coach Peter Laviolette said. "I don't know about frustration or urgency. Everybody's probably angry."

Monday's loss was the Caps' sixth straight at home. They went winless at Capital One Arena through the entire month of February with their last home win coming all the way back on Jan. 22 against the Ottawa Senators. They have gone only 2-8-1 at home in 2022 and have yet to earn a single regulation win.

"Six in a row at home is obviously not a good sign, but we’re putting together good games," Conor Sheary said. "It just seems like one lapse or two lapses and we’re giving up goals in our coverage. Those ones sting when you give up a late goal like that and you’re not able to climb back in it and tie it up."

The Caps have certainly struggled overall in 2022 and have lost their last two on the road as well, but their record away from home is noticeably better at 6-4-1.


So why have wins been so hard to come by at Capital One Arena where previously the Capitals were so formidable?

One issue has been poor starts.

Washington gave up the first goal Monday just 2:35 in as Mitch Marner stole the puck away from Martin Fehervary and fed Michael Bunting in front of the net.

Including Monday, in their last five games at home, the Caps have allowed six goals in the first eight minutes and have allowed the first goal in four out of five of those games.

"I think we probably need to start a little bit better on home ice," Tom Wilson said.

"I think we obviously play better when you can get a lead and you can jump on a team," he added. "Especially at home, you take away their momentum and you come out and you get the first one and you start feeling good about your game and you can turn it over and maybe they get frustrated and they're maybe chasing the game a little bit."

When forced to chase games, the Caps are able to stay in it, but ultimately have not been able to overcome those deficits. That happened again Monday as Washington erased a 1-0 and 3-1 deficit to tie the game at 3 only to watch the Leafs score twice in the final four minutes to win it 5-3.

Getting off to better starts and finding points at home has to be one of the team's top priorities down the stretch of the season. With 13 games left to play in Washington, a .227 points percentage at home -- which is what the Caps currently have in 2022 -- just is not going to cut it.

"There's frustration," Laviolette said. "I think you're probably angry more than anything else. It's our building and we're not getting it done. It's got to be better."

"We’ve got to find a way," Sheary said. "We know we have the answers in the room and we’ve just got to find a way to string a couple wins together and it starts at home on Thursday.”