Washington Capitals: Caps Look to Rebound at Home Against Winnipeg

Barry Leonard@@barryleonardjrAnalyst IIIJanuary 22, 2013

The shortened 2013 NHL season did not get off to the start that Washington had hoped. The Capitals get another chance on Tuesday night when the Winnipeg Jets visit Verizon Center. 

In the opening game of the year, Washington made several key mistakes and looked out of sync en route to a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Caps could not avoid the big mistakes, committing untimely penalties and mishandling the puck in their own zone. Tampa Bay went on the power play seven times, converting on three chances.

Capitals' goalie Braden Holtby, who impressed everyone during the playoffs last season, was peppered with 34 total shots and was only able to stop 28 of them.

Star winger Alex Ovechkin, who has seen his points decline over the past two seasons, was held in check by the Lightning. He managed just four shots on goal and was unable to register a point.

Despite the opening night loss, there were a few reasons for the Capitals to celebrate. Joel Ward lit the lamp twice and newcomers Mike Ribeiro and Wojtek Wolski each contributed with points.

Caps fans get to see their team in person for the first time on Tuesday night when the Jets come to town. Winnipeg has yet to win a game; it lost its opener 4-1 against Ottawa on Saturday and then lost 2-1 in a shootout to Boston on Monday.

The Jets are led by forward Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien, one of the top offensive blueliners in the game.

Washington struggled with Winnipeg last season, only winning two out of the six games it played.

Head coach Adam Oates will expect a much sharper game than what his team gave him on Saturday. Washington needs to play smarter and take advantage of all opportunities. Against the Lightning, the Caps were just one out of four on the power play.

One would expect Braden Holtby to be between the pipes when the Caps take the ice. His poor performance against Tampa Bay was a combination of rust and poor team defense.

Look for Alexander Ovechkin to be motivated in front of the large home crowd and put on a show. Verizon Center is a difficult place for opposing teams to play and the red-clad fans will be amped up to welcome their favorite team back on the ice.

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