Ovechkin: We have to play better
Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Caps reflect on Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to the Stars in Dallas and look ahead toward four days off, including today, a complete day off for players:
What it means: The Caps are now 1-2-0, good for fourth in the Metropolitan Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Caps will play their first Eastern Conference game Thursday night at home, the start of a five-game homestand.
Inside the box score: Alex Ovechkin scored the Caps’ only goal, a power-play one-timer from Mike Green. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 6 points in 3 games. Green is tied for the league lead with 4 assists. The Caps also lead the NHL with a 50 percent success rate on the power play.
Ice time: Ovechkin led all Caps forwards with 22:05; Green led all Caps with 27:05. D Steve Olesky logged 15:25 in his season debut, while rookie Connor Carrick logged 12:41. Marty Erat [8:27, minus-1] remained on a fourth line with Tom Wilson [6:18, 3 hits] and Jay Beagle [7:15, minus-1].
Upon further review: The Caps felt a little slighted when Nicklas Backstrom’s apparent go-ahead goal 8:01 into the second period was disallowed because of his goalie interference on Kari Lehtonen. “I think it should have been a goal,” Adam Oates told reporters. “Once the puck goes in there you’re allowed to go after it. I didn’t think Backy interfered with him. I thought he touched the puck first and then the goalie. Obviously, the goalie embellished a little.”
Lehtonen defends himself: Not surprisingly, Lehtonen saw Backstrom’s disallowed goal differently. “I knew that I got hit pretty hard,” he told reporters. “I tried to tell that to the linesman. I think he saw it too and he went to tell [the referees]. It was a weird play. Sometimes they are able see it and sometimes not. I'm just lucky they waved it off."
No even strength: Through three games the Caps have just three 5-on-5 goals, while allowing eight. “We have lots of chances,” Ovechkin said. “Lots of crossbars and posts. But anyway, we have to play better in our zone. We make lots of turnovers and we spend too much time in our own zone.” By Oates’ estimation, the Caps had three 2-on-1s and hit two crossbars at even strength.
Look ahead: The Caps have a complete day off on Sunday and will return to Kettler for practice Monday at 10:30 a.m.