Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn
The Caps need points. They didn’t get them tonight. After a moral victory against the Penguins, Washington dropped Friday’s game against Columbus in pathetic fashion. Despite picking up two points in the process, the Caps have lost four straight games. With six of the next seven games on the road, the upcoming stretch won’t get easier.
“It’s very frustrating,” head coach Adam Oates told reporters after the loss. “You just can’t let a game get away and be that easy. You just can’t. It’s not right.”
While the team had been playing well coming into Friday’s game, Oates took a hatchet to the lines in Columbus. Afterwards, he criticized his team for being “mentally not ready,” repeating the theme countless times during his five minute presser. Specifically, he said mistakes doomed them against the Jackets. It was the usual stuff, like poor defensive decisions and stupid penalties. Friday’s game started to come off the rails when rookie forth-liner Tom Wilson took a reckless roughing penalty to negate a Capitals power play midway through the opening frame.
“It’s a dumb mistake,” Oates said. “Everybody makes them. He made one there. We have to not make them.”
Oates benched Wilson late, but by then the game was already out of hand. The Caps allowed a late goal in the first period and another one early in the second. After less than 22 minutes, the coach pulled Philipp Grubauer.
“I felt sorry for him,” the coach said. “That’s not on him, that’s on all of us.”
With Braden Holtby in net, the team didn’t respond any better. In the end, Washington finished with a 5-1 loss.
“You just can’t play like that,” Oates concluded. “It’s bad hockey.”