Ovechkin says Caps need a 'sense of urgency'

Ben Krimmel
April 19, 2019 - 9:29 am

After taking a 2-0 series lead on a Brooks Orpik overtime game-winner, the Caps looked like they had put past struggles behind them.

The Washington Capitals had exorcized their playoff demons with a Stanley Cup and a new era of Caps playoff dominance was upon us: The new Caps would not struggle in the opening round. The new Caps would put away a team early in a series. The new Caps wouldn't let a team hang around. 

But then the series shifted to Carolina. And there was a Monday night massacre followed by being outplayed and out-muscled in a 2-1 loss in Game 4. 

What happened to the new Caps?

READ: Caps' 2-0 lead gone to Carolina

The diagnosis from Captain Alex Ovechkin sounded distinctly old Caps: "We just need a sense of urgency in our game."

In addition to the pair of defeats in Raleigh, the Capitals lost forward T.J. Oshie to injury for an extended period of time.

"(Oshie) will not be with our team for a while," head coach Todd Reirden said after Game 4. "He won't be playing anytime soon." 

Well, has that sense of urgency arrived in the Caps locker room yet?

“It has to be,” Ovechkin said. “It’s a wake-up call for all of us. We can’t hope one guy going to make a save or score a goal. You have to go out there and play your game. If you don’t want to do it, don’t play.”

The Caps showed signs of kicking back to life after Monday night when Ovi scored a power-play goal in the second period to equalize after allowing a goal inside 20 seconds, but that was the lone bigplay the visitors could muster on offense. And the question around the DMV with the series tied 2-2 is back: Can the "same-old Caps" still be alive if they were killed last year when they won the Stanley Cup?

“We just want to make sure that we keep pushing,” Braden Holtby said after the 2-1 defeat. “We don’t have enough right now. We know that, and that’s on our group in here to keep pushing forward. And it’s something that we’ve been able to do a lot."

But despite the poor play in Carolina, this is a different iteration of Caps.

“We’ve got to figure out how to react right now, and it was a good game, for the most part, tonight," forward Tom Wilson said. "That being said, it is the playoffs and the ups and downs and how you manage them. I think the team that kind of manages them the best ends up going far, so we are going to continue to review and get better. In the long run, these types of situations can be good for you.” 

While they can't be eliminated Saturday, the fate of the new Caps may be decided in Washington in Game 5.

"We’re pretty confident in the fact that we’re going to go home," Holtby said, "and we’re going to put our best game on the ice.”

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