The Washington Capitals have been struggling this season to say the least, and their game against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night was no different. They finished with a 4-2 loss, with their playoff hopes dwindling away with every defeat. They remain fifth in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The stars played well as they always do, but there were still some issues as the team struggled to play a full 60 minutes of hockey yet again. Here are three takeaways from the loss.
Explore everything hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia pages.
Rasmus Sandin Scores His First As A Capital
In what was probably the biggest steal of the deadline, new acquistion Rasmus Sandin scored his first goal as a Capital. He is now up to a goal and four assists through just two games with his new club and is fitting in just nicely on the point. He has played well in his own end and looks like he’ll be a go-to player in Washington for many years to come.
The trade came out of nowhere, but Capitals fans have got to be loving it. He has fit right in on the powerplay, and has been one of the main contributors to the team’s offence since joining the club. A fresh start is exactly what he needed, and the Maple Leafs gave it to him.
Kuemper Can’t Do It All
Darcy Kuemper played yet another solid game between the pipes for the Capitals, stopping 37 of the 40 shots he faced which comes out to a .925 save percentage. His consistency is something the team was looking for when they signed him in the offseason, and that’s exactly what they’re getting.
Related: Revisiting Capitals’ Trade for Anthony Mantha
Latest News & Highlights
While Kuemper has been strong all season, the Capitals have constantly left him out to dry. They seem to rely on him to stop everything that comes his way, which as we’ve seen lately, hasn’t been going too well.
Kuemper is one of the league’s best goalies but with the Capitals struggling defensively right now, he gets overlooked. The rest of the team needs to start stepping up in front of him.
Alex Ovechkin Scores 36th Goal Of The Season
The greatest goalscorer of all time continues to climb the ranks with goal number 36 on the season, and goal number 816 in his career. No surprise it came on the powerplay to tie the game, but he still was unable to do enough to lift the Capitals to a victory.
Ovechkin’s minus-3 rating is something he won’t be proud of, but watching the games he does everything he can to keep the puck out of his own net. He finished the night with 17:47 of ice, and four shots on goal.
The Capitals got outshot 41-22, which is simply unacceptable. The amount of times the defensemen have been leaving the goaltenders out to dry is ridiculous and needs to be fixed as soon as possible if the team still has hopes of sneaking into a playoff spot.
What’s Next For The Capitals?
The Capitals are back in action Thursday, March 9 against the New Jersey Devils. This will be a tough test for them, as they’ll likely see former goaltender Vitek Vanecek in between the pipes for the Devils, who has had a really strong season with a 2.50 goals-against average, and a .908 save percentage, and two shutouts.
The Capitals are expected to start Kuemper again, who has had a stellar season with a 2.78 GAA and a .910 SV%, along with five shutouts.
There is no official word on any injury return timelines, so John Carlson will likely still be out for a bit longer.