Dmitry Orlov’s focus this season has been limiting the costly miscues that, at times, plagued him a year ago.
And, for the most part, he’s been successful at it.
Then Thursday night happened.
The Capitals’ defenseman turned the puck over twice in the third period—and both misplays resulted in goals for the Islanders, who pulled away for a 3-0 victory at Verizon Center. The win was the Islanders' third in a row, while the Caps have now dropped consecutive games in regulation for the second time this season.
“We playing hard, working hard, and I did two bad mistakes and it cost our game,” Orlov said.
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Indeed, Washington and New York were locked in a 0-0 battle through 40 minutes. The Capitals got a power play early in the third period and, although they couldn't finish, they had the Islanders on their heels. The building was loud. Momentum was theirs.
And then, about a minute later, Orlov tried to stop a pass back to the point with his skates. It was far too casual a play given the pressure he was under. The bouncing puck skipped past him, Casey Cizikas corralled it and passed it up to Shane Prince, who finished the play by beating Braden Holtby on a breakaway.
“I just probably need to make simple play, just throw it away somewhere, not give a chance…it was my mistake,” Orlov explained.
Orlov tried to get to cute on the Islanders’ second goal, as well. After taking a pass from partner John Carlson behind the Washington net, the Russian defenseman attempted to make a slick pass to Justin Williams in front of the net. Just one problem: Williams was surrounded by John Tavares and Josh Bailey.
“I try to make a pass to the middle but their guys was there,” Orlov said. “I need to make simple play and don’t try to do too much in that moment, especially in a game that was 0-0 through two periods.”
He added: “I tried to do less mistakes [this season]. I need to [study the] play[s] again and do try to not do this anymore.”
Barry Trotz said he appreciated the fact that Orlov owned up to the miscues. The veteran coach also vouched for his 25-year-old defenseman's play this season, saying that he’s “been pretty happy” with Orlov through 22 games.
“We all make mistakes,” Trotz said, asked what he says to Orlov after a game such as this one. “He knows when he makes a mistake. We made the mistakes. It’ll be a ‘we’ thing. Just like everybody else, sometimes they end up in the back of your net and sometimes they don’t. It’s about the ‘we’ in that one.”