Shattenkirk's slip: Capitals 'too horny' in defensive zone


The Stanley Cup Playoffs is a consuming, often disorientating animal.

Between the stress of high-pressure games, necessitated morning skates, hours of back-and-forth travel, tactical analysis, and continued prodding from the media, the demands put on the bodies and minds of players tests the limits of human functioning.

Mental lapses precipitated by physical fatigue can be determining outcomes in games, and often sway series, when they happen on the ice.

When it happens in the dressing room, well, the consequences are far less severe.

Kevin Shattenkirk couldn’t help but laugh for a moment when he failed to produce the right word to describe the Washington Capitals’ overzealousness in response to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ speed in the attacking zone through the first three games of the series – and perhaps dug into the ‘ol subconscious to provide an answer.

“Initially, when they’re chipping pucks in, we have to do a better job of being patient. There are times when they are beating us to the puck, so we just have to let the one-on-ones happen. We’re kinda getting a little too, uh, horny, getting in there and exposing it,” Shattenkirk said to reporters at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday. “They are able to keep those pucks alive, and once we’re losing one, two guys into battles, that’s when they have that time and space to make plays happen. If we just come back to the net front, stop, let the one-on-one happen, we’re going to be fine.”

Overzealousness on the part of the Washington Capitals cost them in Game 3 of their first-round series versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Overzealousness on the part of the Washington Capitals cost them in Game 3 of their first-round series versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

We saw an example of over-exuberance on the part of Shattenkirk in Game 3 when both he and partner Brooks Orpik followed a forechecking Zach Hyman behind the net, creating space for Auston Matthews to scoop up the puck and spot out William Nylander in front to bury the equalizer.

The boys will have to clean it up if they are to earn a split in Toronto and take the series back to Washington at 2-2.

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