Poor start sets the tone for Capitals in clunker against Wild

Poor start sets tone for Caps in clunker against Wild originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals gave up two goals in the first two minutes of the game to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday and never recovered in a 5-1 loss.

Here are some observations from the game.

Off on the wrong foot

It did not take long for this one to start going downhill. Joel Eriksson Ek scored just 36 seconds into the game on a breakaway giving the Wild a lead they would not relinquish. Jordan Greenway tapped a long-distance pass from Alex Goligoski right into the flight path of Eriksson Ek. The jets were on and he was in behind the defense for the breakaway and the goal. Just 61 seconds later, Tyson Jost made it 2-0. He shrugged off an attempted hip-check by Nicklas Backstrom against the board and was in on a 2-on-1 with Kevin Fiala. Jost called his own number and beat goalie Vitek Vanecek with the wrist shot.

Another bad start

Minnesota extended the lead to 3-0 in the second period. Any faint hopes of a Caps rally in the third were then extinguished as the Wild struck just 30 seconds into the final frame.

Washington did not look ready to play at the start of the first and it set the tone for the entire game. They did not appear ready to play at the start of the third and it gave Minnesota the chance to deliver the knockout punch.

A rough stretch for Vanecek

On March 28, Vanecek gave up five goals on 23 shots to the Carolina Hurricanes and that was just through two periods. Ilya Samsonov started the third. On Sunday, Vanecek had another rough night with four goals against just 18 shots. That’s nine goals allowed in the last five periods.

Goaltending has been a question mark for Washington all season, but a solid stretch seemed to cement Vanecek as the No. 1. Does that remain the case after two very rough performances?

Many happy(ier) returns

Johan Larsson, Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk all returned to the lineup after injuries. Larsson made his Capitals debut after he was acquired at the trade deadline from the Arizona Coyotes. He played 10:48 on the night and saw some time on the penalty kill.

Dowd has had trouble staying healthy consistently this season. He played 11:44 in his return. Van Riemsdyk played 17:56

It is a good sign to see them back in the lineup, but Caps fans can be forgiven for wishing the team had a better performance after adding so many weapons.

Home sweet home?

Sunday’s loss continues Washington’s struggles at home. For the season, this loss drops the Caps to 16-15-5 at Capital One Arena. Washington has lost four of its last five contests at home.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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