It is not the season opener the Washington Capitals wanted, or for that matter, expected. In the career debut of new bench boss Adam Oates, the Capitals got ripped by the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 in Tampa Bay to fall to 0-1 on the season.
The Caps were inflicted by bad defense and bad goaling from Branden Holtby. There are some out there that may lay this loss completely on poor defense, but Holtby was far from sharp, very far. You give up six goals you don't put that all on defense. Goalies are expected to make hard saves. Holtby didn't. However, Oates is going to have to solve the porous defensive issues. There is an argument to be made to be an offensive based system. However, the defense was just horrid. If that is the case, then expect many games this season with the Caps allowing four or more goals. Calle Johnasson, the Caps defensive coach, has much work to do.
Washington got three goals on the night, all from rebounds left by Tampa goalie Anders Lindback. The first two came from Joe Ward, who found himself in the center of the ice on rebounds left by Lindback. Ward scored twice, getting off to a nice start in 2013. Wolski buried a rebound off a Mike Robeiro shot to give the Caps their third goal of the game.
Overall, if you missed the Caps season opener, kneel down and give thanks. You missed nothing. Nothing at all.
Alexander Ovechkin finished with 4 shots on net, no points. Nicklas Backstrom has three shots, no points. Washington was 1 for 4 on the power play, while allowing 2 power play goals on the penalty kill. Certainly not the result Oates anticipated.
Joel Ward, 2 goals
Wojtek Wolski, 1 goal, 1 assist
Player of the Game: Joel Ward, 2 goals