Washington Capitals vs. the Dallas Stars Game Recap: Two Situations that Bear Monitoring
It was a tough loss tonight for our boys in red as the Washington Capitals fell to the Dallas Stars 2-1. The Capitals scored first, striking on the power play but that was all the offense they could muster.
The Capitals had some tough puck luck on the night: a Nick Backstrom goal was disallowed due to incidental conduct, John Erskine hit the post twice, and Brooks Laich rang a shot off the crossbar on a breakaway. Despite that though, the Capitals once again struggled to generate chances at even strength when play slowed down.
Struggling to win the board battles
The Caps have not been able to generate much offense on even strength and even less when they look to engineer their cycle and rotate the puck. Their best chances have come in open play when the game tempo is up and down and they are giving up as many chances as they are getting.The struggle is that the Capitals has been that when things slow down they simply are not effectively generating chances in the goalmouth and slot. The game-plan seems to have been reduced to firing pucks from the point and happing for the best.
The reason is that right now the Washington Capitals are not winning the board battles and possessing the puck in the offensive zone. The Caps generated six shots in the third period when they desperately needed to generate chances.
The Caps were supposed to be a different, tougher team this year. So far, the early results have not been encouraging.
Braden Holtby’s Rebound Control
Holtby put together a much better performance and bounced back well after a tough night against the Calgary Flames. However, his rebound control fell short tonight and led to both Stars goals.
Per Katie Carrera, Holtby is making some adjustments to his game. Obviously, as a young goalie, there is always room for improvement. Hopefully, Olaf Kolzig can get Holtby back on track.
It’s surprising that Michael Neuvirth did not get the start but it demonstrates the faith that Adam Oates has in Holtby. It will be interesting to see what Neuvirth’s situation will be moving forward especially given the presence of Phillip Grabauer in Hershey.
Neuvirth could find himself in the same position that his previous counterpart, Semyon Varlamov, was in two years ago when he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
While it’s still early in the year, it will be interesting to see how the Capitals address these two situations moving forward.