The Caps put forth a much better effort last night with unfortunately the same result. This team is having a very difficult time finishing right now, and coach Boudreau described his players as grasping their sticks too tightly right now in his post game comments.
Missing Ovechkin and Poti hurt, for sure. The power play looked especially lost, like they just weren't sure who should shoot. Granted, Ovechkin is a HUGE part of this offense, but they did not lack for chances, as Fedorov went out of his way to mention last night. They just couldn't finish.
Bradley breaks a stick. Fleishmann, in a all too familiar refrain now, shot high on an open net. Fehr and Laich couldn't get any lift when they had Gerber down. The only forward that showed any crispness on passes was Semin.
Boudreau made a quip about one of his players (he failed to mention which one) being nervous a couple games back, to which he replied, if he's nervous now, what's he gonna feel like in the playoffs? But that's where the team is at right now, teetering between Ovechkin and Semin's swagger and some of the others not trusting their stuff.
Maybe the big division lead and lofty status in some power rankings got some of these guys thinking "Are we ready for this?". Maybe the national attention on Green during his streak had some guys doubting their own ability.
Whatever it is, really, they need to forget about it and get back to playing hockey. Just let the natural talent take back over. Because fewer teams in hockey are as naturally talented--top to bottom--as this team.