Caps look out of sync opening night
Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals spent their Sunday contemplating their season-opening 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning:
Film study: First-year Capitals coach Adam Oates is giving his players the day off on Sunday but he’ll spend much of his day in the film room with assistant coaches Calle Johansson and Tim Hunter. That film will be broken down and shown to the players on Monday.
“There’s some good, there’s some bad,” veteran center Mike Ribeiro said. “Obviously, we want to review both of them and go back at it. This was our first game on the road and now we’re going back home. It’s good to have that first game and see what we did wrong and what we did right.”
Oates said learning a new system in six days is not an ideal situation for any team, especially one that hasn’t played together in almost eight months and is adapting to a new coaching staff.
“It’s tough,” Oates said. “It’s going to take the guys a while. We talked about that. Hopefully, we can win enough games until it becomes automatic. It wasn’t our night but there’s a lot of positives in the game and we’ll talk about that on Monday.”
Positives: Joel Ward played one of his best games as a Capital with a pair of goals and a team high of five shots in 13:37 of work. He fell one goal short of his first career hat trick. Wojtek Wolski also picked up a goal and an assist in his first game as a Capital. Oates said he thought the defense pairing of Karl Alzner [22:31, even] and John Carlson [25:02, 1 assist, plus-2] “played great.” Matt Hendricks won all six of his faceoffs.
Negatives: Braden Holtby allowed six goals on 34 shots and had trouble stopping shots with his catching glove. Left wing Marcus Johansson and defenseman Tom Poti each finished a minus-2. The Caps were outhit 27-16 and lost 54 percent of their faceoffs. Ribeiro won just 4 of 14 draws.
Welcome back: Tom Poti logged 13:20 of ice time in his first game since breaking his pelvis on Jan. 12, 2011. “The game is definitely a lot faster than I was used to down in Hershey,” he said. “We definitely had some breakdowns out there. The only place we can go is up. I know learning a new system is hard but at the same time you have to battle through it. We definitely had a few miscues and with the talent they have they’re going to put it in the back of the net.”
Quote of the night: Ribeiro called out his teammates for “swinging” too much in the defensive zone. “If we play well defensively, with the talent we have I don’t think we’ll have any problem finding the net.”