Poor starts leading to poor results for Capitals


An NHL game is 60 minutes long, but it took just two minutes for the Minnesota Wild to take control of Sunday's game against the Capitals. For 58 minutes, it felt like the outcome was already decided as Washington once again came out flat in what is quickly becoming a troubling trend.

Joel Eriksson Ek scored just 36 seconds into the game on a breakaway giving the Wild a lead they would not relinquish. Things soon got worse for Washington as just 61 seconds later, Tyson Jost made it 2-0. 

"There might [have] been only two chances we gave up, but they were mistakes, they were early on and not the way you want to start the game," head coach Peter Laviolette.

“Obviously was tough start," Alex Ovechkin said. "We knew we have to play different because they play back-to-back, we have to put the pressure [on]. But when you give up those chances right away, it’s kind of kill your momentum. We try to do our best to bounce back to the game."

But it wasn't just the first period. Any faint hopes of a Caps rally in the third were then extinguished as Marcus Foligno struck just 30 seconds into the final frame.

Of the five goals Washington gave up on Sunday, three of them came in the first two minutes of a period.


Poor starts have been an issue in this recent stretch in which the Caps have lost four of their last six games. In addition to the two goals on Sunday, Washington has given up an additional three goals in the first three minutes of the game over that six-game stretch.

No one was good on Sunday. The defense broke down allowing several early rushes and goalie Vitek Vanecek let in some soft goals when the team really needed a big save. But Sunday's struggles are not just limited to that one game and the Caps seem at a loss at how to stop this trend from continuing.

“Yeah I don’t know, focus on those details, try not to give up too much," Trevor van Riemsdyk said.

Going back to the last six games, in the four games the Caps have given up a goal in the first three minutes, they lost three of those four. Even if the team can't explain why they are not ready to play at the start of games, the effects are easy to see.

A Washington team trying to get on track before the postseason is now constantly finding itself chasing games and they are losing as a result.