'We let them back in the game': Caps know they let 2 points slip away originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
"I think today was the pretty good chance to get two points," Evgeny Kuznetsov said.
"There was times tonight where we should have had the two points, we should have had the win," Tom Wilson said.
That was the prevailing feeling among the Capitals following their 5-4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It was a game they should have won and they know it.
After jumping out to a 3-1 lead, Washington made mistake after mistake allowing the Penguins to climb back in it. A 3-1 game turned into a 4-4 game by the end of the second period and Sidney Crosby finished it off in overtime.
"It just seemed like we turned it over a lot and it came back the other way and it was difficult to establish zone time and to start to get some rhythm back to what we were doing," head coach Peter Laviolette said. "So it’s frustrating.”
The first period was a bright spot in what was otherwise a dismal game. The Caps played their best period of the season as they dominated the Penguins.
A revamped third line scored for the first time this season, Wilson continued his hot start with two goals, the Caps completely dictated the play, outshot Pittsburgh 11-5 and built a 3-1 lead.
"It was a step in the right direction," Lars Eller said. "I think there were some bright spots too, even later in the game. I think we saw some of these long cycles where we wore them down for a minute or so."
But then Washington followed its best period with its worst as the second period devolved into a complete disaster.
The Capitals failed to score on a 3-on-0 and soon after took two penalties and gave up a 5-on-3 goal. They also gave up a shorthanded 5-on-3 goal, T.J. Oshie narrowly avoided a major penalty thanks to a review but Evgeni Malkin would score on the resulting power play regardless for his first point of the season.
"We really paid for our mistakes in the second period," Eller said. "We made a couple and we weren’t sharp on the execution and then you know just can’t sleep on this team and they scored two and they are right back in the game. They shouldn’t of been. We should have closed the game there when we were up 5-on-3 power play I think, but we just let them back in the game."
Once the team got back to the locker room to regroup after the second, Laviolette hoped to see a strong response in the third. He didn't get it.
"The third, after a tough second period, it was a time to get going in the right direction and put the game back on track and I just don’t feel like we hit our stride," Laviolette said. "After things started to happen in the second period where it felt like we were shooting ourselves in the foot, we couldn’t get in motion, we couldn’t get going and they came back, and in the third I was looking for a better response than what we got.”
Instead, what Laviolette and the team got was one point rather than the two it looked like they would cruise to in the first period.
The loss is a sour note to what was otherwise a successful road trip. With four games on the road to start the season, the Caps walked away with six out of a possible eight points. Given the way the last two games played out and especially Tuesday's, however, the Caps know they have a lot more work to do to find the consistency they will need to be successful in the long run.
"It's frustrating to lose two to a rival and these points are important," Wilson said, "So we've got to find a way to get those games and close them out."