Penalties kill Capitals against Penguins as whistles plague Washington in early season

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 10:39:48 PM. Washington has taken the third most penalties in the league and allowed three power-play goals in Pittsburgh's 3-2 win on Wednesday night.
The Capitals were called for six penalties through two periods on Wednesday night. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post) Capitals Coach Barry Trotz’s message to the team after the first four games of the season: “Let’s be real. We’ve got to get our penalties down.” The tipping point came on Wednesday night in Washington’s 3-2 loss to the Penguins, when the Capitals took six minor infractions in the first two periods, allowed three power-play goals and could never climb out of the hole they dug for themselves. It’s a small sample size, but Washington’s 20 minor penalties through four games are the third-most in the NHL. [Capitals-Penguins redux ends with another Washington loss] More concerning is that this seems to be a continuing trend from last season, when the Capitals finished with 312 minors, the third-most in the league behind Calgary and Anaheim. “That’s obviously something we’ve got to clean up,” forward Nicklas Backstrom said. “But I think it starts with execution in our own zone. If we’re executing plays, we won’t take these penalties, I think. We’re getting stuck in our own zone, and obviously, [the Penguins] got to play there and that’s what they’re good at. That’s when we take our penalties. We’ve just got to clean up that in our own zone, I think.” Backstrom added that “there’s a new level of calls” that Washington has to adjust to with the NHL emphasizing stricter standards for slashing and faceoff violations. “I don’t know what the level is,”...Read more
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