Can the Washington Capitals flip the script on afternoon games when facing the New Jersey Devils at home?
The Washington Capitals were looking to continue the roll of winning with a Saturday afternoon matchup with the New York Rangers. Unfortunately, they finished their recent win streak at two in a row with a 4-1 loss to the Rangers on home ice. After seeming to have found their groove, what could have attributed to the loss and be fixed in time for their Sunday afternoon matchup with the New Jersey Devils?
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When you are a team on a mission to reach the top of the division and have an advantage over your opponent based on their position in the rankings, the odds are usually in your team’s favor. It started with the Washington Capitals falling into previous bad habits of leaving open scoring chances in the defensive zone, this occuring on a powerplay for the Rangers yet another bad habit for the Capitals spending too much time in the box. The benefactor of the slip in play was a common enemy of the Capitals, Chris Kreider.
The game would remain knotted here until late in the second period, where the Rangers would again play into bad tendencies for the Capitals with their inability to clear the crease of traffic, or prime real estate for rebounds. Less than a minute later the Capitals would allow the Rangers to extend their lead with a long range shot from the point which got deflected making it 3-0 about to go into the second intermission. Good thing for the Capitals, Dmitry Orlov was able to keep the team alive and tally one right before the break to cut the lead to 2 goals.
This wouldn’t prove to be a momentum shift the Washington Capitals were hoping for as they would fail to capitalize on the goal by Orlov. Instead, they would allow a shorty to extend the lead again to 3 goals for the Rangers by way of an empty net late in the 3rd in hopes of getting the Capitals back into the game. Now instead of waiting to redeem themselves a few days, they will look to bounce back quickly in an afternoon game with this one coming as their first contest against the New Jersey Devils in 2021. How can they look to get back to the win column?
First things first, don’t assume just because a team is stuck in the bottom of the standings that they will play as such. Next, they will need to clean up the crease better instead of leaving it solely to the heroics of the Vitek Vanecek, without some of his stellar saves from Saturday afternoon the Capitals would have been losing with a greater goal differential. Of course, if they can find their chemistry from the previous two games before facing the Rangers they should fare much better.
Will they be able to find the chemistry needed or will this be another stretch of losing on the horizon following a few lucky outcomes, here is how to find out:
Date: February 21, 2021
Time: 2 p.m. EST
Where: Capital One Arena
TV Broadcast: NBC
Radio: Caps Radio 24/7
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