The Blackhawks had their two-game winning streak snapped by the Capitals, 5-3, on Sunday night at the United Center.
Five different Capitals scored goals - Alex Ovechkin, Lars Eller, Nic Dowd, Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie - and Braden Holtby was strong in goal to lift Washington.
Dominik Kubalik, Drake Caggiula and Patrick Kane scored and Alex Nylander added two assists for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford suffered the loss in goal for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 2-3-1 on the season.
The loss was that much more frustrating because it was arguably the Blackhawks best effort of the season. They controlled play much of the game and out-shot the Capitals 44-30 and had another 31 shots blocked.
After the game, coach Jeremy Colliton couldn't come up with many negatives despite the loss.
"Pretty good effort, I thought," Colliton said. "Loved the pressure we put on, especially from our forwards. I thought our forecheck was as good as it's been. The second period was excellent. Great show of character to battle back. We give up a couple goals that took some momentum away and made it hard on us, but overall I'm pretty happy with the effort we had.
"We talked about it in the room - there's some things that we can clean up and things to improve on, no question - but the base of that game was pretty good," he added. "We can build on that."
Holtby, who has struggled much of this season and entered the game with a 3.83 goals-against average and .862 save percentage, kept his team in it.
"Yeah, (Holtby) played well," Kane said. "He's a good goaltender. There are going to be games like that. It would've been nice to cash in on the power play (0-for-5).
"I think the power play can be better for us," Kane added. "If we get back to the level we were at for some parts of last year we can be dangerous."
Kirby Dach made his NHL debut for the Blackhawks and acquitted himself well against one of the league's top teams.
Skating on a line with Kane and Dylan Strome, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft played 13 minutes, 41 seconds and finished with one block while going 1-for-5 in the faceoff circle.
"Obviously, you want to win in your first game in and help the team that way, but I felt good out there," Dach said. "At the same time, there are things I can clean up in my game to kind of help the team moving forward."
Dach said the pace of the game was his biggest challenge.
"You don't know what it's going to be like until you step out there with those guys - just how big and strong they are, how heavy they are on their sticks and how they compete for pucks," the 18-year-old said.
After missing much of the preseason and the first five regular-season games while recovering from a concussion, Dach has begun the process of proving himself to the Blackhawks hierarchy.
"Kind of my main focus right now is just trying to belong here and standout at the same time, for good reasons obviously," Dach said. "I want to be a Blackhawk this year, that's the goal. I'm striving for it."
Colliton said Dach was "really good. He looked comfortable. Made a lot of plays. (His) play away from the puck I thought was quite good. So, good start for him."
Said Kane of his new linemate: "I thought (Dach) played well. He did some noticeable things where he's hanging onto the puck, big body, he's obviously still a young kid. Pretty raw, but for his first game against a really good team, one of the better teams in the league, I thought he was noticeable (and) had some good shifts.
"I think there's some chemistry to be built there, so I think we can even be better," Kane added. "Myself and Strome, we can be better for him."
Nylander had another strong game, notching two assists in 13:12 of ice time. For the season, the winger has two goals and two assists in five games and has flashed his offensive skills.
"Of course you can always improve as a player and learn new things out there in situations," Nylander said. "I'm obviously still learning. It's my first year from the beginning so I'm just trying to play my game and be comfortable out there."
Nylander made a terrific no-look, backhand pass to set up Caggiula's goal and later found an open Kane to lead to another score.
"I want to work hard every shift and do my thing out there, make my plays and obviously be good defensively as well," Nylander said.