Photo: Scott Levy
Coming into Friday night, the Caps had been playing well. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they nearly beat two of the leagueâ€™s best teams. But then they played Columbus. It was a disaster, and a moment of reckoning.
After the game, the fan base â€” and the team â€” seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washingtonâ€™s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. Itâ€™s not likely to change before playoff time either.
On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washingtonâ€™s four game skid. It didnâ€™t work.
The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry OrlovÂ to put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.
Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway.Â Rangers slam Caps 4-1.