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Morning After: Back in the Losing Column

Apr 11, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Washington Capitals center Aliaksei Protas (21) skates with the puck as Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jacob Bryson (78) defends during the third period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals kicked off this brief two-game road trip with a huge win in Detroit on Tuesday, largely in part due to Charlie Lindgren. To keep their playoff hopes alive, another win last night felt pretty vital. The last time the Capitals faced the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center, it was decidedly not a good outcome for Washington. Unfortunately, last night was more of the same—certainly a less painful final score, but a crushing loss nonetheless.

Three Takeaways:

  • In the second period, Coach Carbery scrambled his lines a bit and put a Max Pacioretty-Connor McMichael-TJ Oshie trio together. They clicked immediately and got the Capitals on the board in the second period with a McMichael goal pretty soon after the switch-up. They continued to be a threat for the rest of their shifts, passing the puck well and getting a few more good looks. This on-the-fly line was one of just a few bright spots for Washington last night, and hopefully they can keep that going on Saturday.
  • Coming into last night, the Capitals hadn’t scored more than two goals in their last seven games, and only one of those ended with a Capitals’ win. Even worse, the Caps only scored a third period goal in one of those games. That second streak was snapped after Tom Wilson’s goal in the final minute of the game last night, but the Capitals have now scored two or fewer goals in their last eight games. Washington is most likely going to need to win all three of their remaining games in a very competitive playoff race in the East, and a max of two goals per game definitely won’t cut it.
  • Buffalo’s fourth goal of the night, Dylan Cozens’ empty netter, was a brutal bounce for the Caps and also a pretty good representation of the entire game for them. The puck skipped out of the Caps’ offensive zone and bounced off the linesman’s skate right onto Cozens’ stick, which set him up for an easy empty net shot. The game looked pretty much out of reach for the Capitals by this point, so at that point it was demoralizing more than anything else.

They Said It:

Talking Points