Putting the losing streak behind us.

The Capitals were victorious over the Ottawa Senators 3-2 today and put an end to their 8-game losing streak which seems like it was going on forever. It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but it really doesn’t matter how we win games at this point. In fact, a gritty win like this is exactly what the team needed to turn things around. Alex Ovechkin said in an interview that “things would get easier for us once we in a game” and I think that things will get easier for the Caps in the next few games. When you’re losing, things seem a lot more difficult than they are and that was the case for the Caps as their top players were struggling mightily and making fundamental mistakes during this slump. It did carry over tonight in the first period when the Caps fell down 2-0 to the Senators but a quick turnaround in the second period put them back on top and they never looked back.

Like I said earlier, it wasn’t the prettiest win and there were a lot of mistakes present from the losing streak. One of which was taking six penalties but the Caps killed off all six of them, something they have been struggling to do as of late.  The team’s also getting into a bad habit of falling behind early by giving up 2 quick 1st period goals and playing awful to start the game. That definitely has to stop because no one wants to play from behind. They also struck on the powerplay with a goal from Mathieu Perreault, something that was also struggling during the losing streak. The team was also pressuring Ottawa’s defense a lot more in this game than they were in previous outings, especially in the 2nd period. They kept the puck in Ottawa’s one for most of the 2nd period and it payed off with 3 goals. The line which was the most effective was Brooks Laich, Mathieu Perreault and Mike Knuble. All three of them crash the net well and Perreault scored two goals because of it. I didn’t think these three could develop much chemistry but it’s hard to argue with the results right now.

Strong goaltending was something that was also missing and reappeared tonight. Aside from an awful misplay which led to the first goal, Michal Neuvirth played very well tonight and came up huge in the third period during the penalty kill. For the past two months, the Caps goaltending hasn’t been that hot and Neuvirth has struggled, especially. This could be the game that turns things around for him. I thought it was interesting that he was given the start on back-to-back nights. Semyon Varlamov hasn’t been at the top of his game either but I think he will get more starts soon.

So, how do we put all of this behind us? It’s good we got the win tonight but Ottawa’s a team we should beat given how bad they’ve been this year. Florida and Toronto were also teams we “should” beat and didn’t so I am definitely not complaining. Our next games are against New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Carolina and Montreal before the Winter Classic and all of those are going to be tough games. I think we’ll find out then whether or not this streak is behind us. Sometimes one win is all it takes to get the wheels clicking again and I hope that’s the case for this team.

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