For the better part of two periods, the Capitals couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. Passes were intercepted. Coverages were missed. And Braden Holtby had to come up with one save after another just to keep his team from getting blown out.
“We were a step behind, slow, not communicating well,” Holtby said after the 5-0 defeat, which included a pair of empty-net goals. “It’s not even close to being good enough.
“We need to realize this is the regular season now. It’s real. We were slow against a fast team. We weren’t clicking. We were off. Stuff of losing hockey and that’s not us.”
The Capitals committed 17 turnovers in the loss, their first of the season, and were trailing 23-13 in shots when Barry Trotz called a timeout with the Caps trailing 3-0 just 7:225 into the second period.
“We can’t be spotting them 15 shots before we compete,” Caps defenseman Niskanen said.
T.J. Oshie, who managed five shots in 24:40 of ice time, said the only forward line that played the right way against the Sharks was the third line of Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson, who were led by Chimera’s team-high six shots.
Trotz said the Caps made the mistake of trying to out-finesse the Sharks instead of outworking them.
“They got pucks deep,” Trotz said. “We wanted to make plays and play slow and they don’t allow you to. You’ve got to get pucks behind them and be heavy on people. We weren’t very heavy, we were very light. We lost a lot of battles and therefore we were chasing the game.”
Trotz said he didn’t like the way the Capitals played in their season-opening 5-3 win over New Jersey and he didn’t like the way they played against the Sharks.
“It’s not the level of expectation I have for this group,” he said. “I told them that. Sometimes it’s good to get a little wakeup call. We have good people, we have good leadership and we’ll get it fixed.”
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