WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin's Washington Capitals are specializing in slow starts — to games and to seasons.
Heading into Saturday's game against Columbus, Washington is only 2-5. In first periods, the Capitals are being outscored 9-4.
Says forward Troy Brouwer: "We had higher expectations for ourselves."
After a 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, the Capitals have allowed 24 goals, while scoring 16.
Washington has the same number of even-strength goals as power-play goals, and is having real problems clearing the puck out of the defensive zone.
A year ago, Washington won one of its first 11 games, and players blamed that on a lack of proper preparation because of the lockout.
No such excuse this time.