Late stumble deflates Caps
It was a deflating, and yet fitting, way for the Washington Capitals’ game to end. Defenseman John Carlson stood behind Washington’s net and passed the puck up the ice. Forward Jakub Vrana stumbled trying to get to it. And then it was picked off by Dallas center Jason Dickinson, who spun towards goaltender Braden Holtby and fired for the overtime winner. Another turnover had burned Washington.
Though the Capitals have proven to be resilient this season and never quite out of a game even when they’ve dug themselves into a hole, the same puck management mistakes continue to hurt them. In Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Dallas, Washington allowed four goals off turnovers, and while the team played better in the second half, it still ultimately couldn’t overcome its blunders.
They’ve been wildly inconsistent to start the season, following each loss with a win and vice versa. Their games have similarly been a rollercoaster, and on Saturday night, Washington overcame a two-goal deficit for a second straight game. Dallas defenseman Roman Polak was called for interference 6:39 into the third period, giving the Capitals’ top-ranked power-play unit an opportunity to tie the game. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov sneaked a shot over goaltender Ben Bishop’s shoulder, beating him high short side for his sixth power-play goal of the season. He flapped his arms to imitate a bird, a trademark celebration for him. That ensured the game went to overtime, where star Dallas center Tyler Sequin got a penalty shot less than a minute in. Holtby saved it, deflecting the puck away with the tip of his glove. Dickinson decided it with 1:43 left in the extra fame.
After the team’s loss in Montreal on Thursday night, Coach Todd Reirden lamented how the Capitals haven’t been able to string together a “60-minute game” to this point in the season. “We’re learning some lessons the hard way right now,” he said that night. A poor start to Saturday’s game against Dallas indicated Washington still hadn’t learned.
The Capitals have been plagued by sloppy play to start the season, and their team defense in particular has been an issue. Entering Saturday’s game, Washington had allowed 3.82 goals per game, which is tied for the third-most in the league. The same mistakes haunted the team in the first period, when it fell into a 2-0 hole. TV: Radio: