ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals trudged listlessly through the start of consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins earlier this week.
In their 6-4 loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Capitals registered a season-low eight shots through two periods, a total they matched the following evening in a 3-0 loss to the Bruins before finishing with a season-low 16.
The Capitals, who have been held to five or fewer shots in five of their past seven periods of regulation, pinpointed neutral-zone play as the source of their recent offensive frustration.
Against the Bruins in particular, the Capitals' poorly placed dump-ins allowed Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask to quickly reverse the flow before they could establish any sort of forecheck.
In preparation for the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, Washington placed added emphasis on execution between the blue lines.
"It was the first thing in our meeting today," coach Adam Oates said. "Our neutral zone has to be better in terms of getting through their wave so we can put the puck in the right spot where we can actually forecheck, and if we don't, what's our fallout plan."