Washington Capitals' Tough Times: 4 Ways the Caps Can Improve

Paddy MillerContributor IIINovember 14, 2011

Washington Capitals' Tough Times: 4 Ways the Caps Can Improve

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    The Washington Capitals have struggled as of late, grabbing only three points in their last four games. While the Southeastern Division leaders got off to a hot start at the beginning of the season, they have shown signs of weakness as of late.

    With a 3–2 home shootout loss against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday evening, the Capitals sustained injuries to their blue line and showed a lack of offensive savvy when the score was tied—which is usually an opportunity for an offensively powerful team like the Caps to overwhelm their opponents.

    Blowing leads and failing to produce scoring chances is not a recipe for success in the Eastern Conference nor anywhere else, and the team will need to shake these slumps and come back with tangible winning streaks when these lulls occur.

    Let’s take a look at a few ways the Capitals can improve at this point to overcome their most recent struggles.

Send Messages

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    Alexander Semin, the dynamic Russian winger leads all Capitals with 22 minutes in penalties.

    Semin does not employ a very physical playing style; therefore, a lot those minor penalties would seem unwarranted.

    Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has benched several players for various reasons this season, and he needs to send a message to underperforming players—especially ones who make common mistakes on the ice.

    Semin’s production is not where it needs to be, but the penalty minutes make this an easy decision for the Caps coaching staff.

Generate More Opportunities

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    The Capitals produced just 17 shots in their overtime loss to the Devils on Saturday.

    As an offensive-minded team, the Capitals need many more shots on the opposing goal than what they mustered over the weekend.

    Alexander Ovechkin predominantly leads the NHL in this category, and Bruce Boudreau teams like to get the puck on net.

    Only having 17 ticks on the shot clock wont lead to many Capitals wins over the course of a season.  

Play a Complete 60 Minutes

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    This is something that has plagued the Caps not only this year, but since this team has experienced success for the past few years.

    It is impossible to win playoff series’ when you cannot finish games, and the recent dry streak the Capitals have experienced is mainly for this reason.

    If Washington wants to get back to their winning ways, the Capitals will need to play a complete game from start to finish in order to win.

Give Them Time

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    There is no need to panic in the Nation's Capital at the moment. The Capitals have gone through these pains before, and the fact that they are coming at this point in the season may be a positive thing—as opposed to April and May.

    The Caps will get their next shot to start a winning streak when they travel to Nashville Tuesday night to begin a three-game road trip.