Is It All Downhill From Here for the Capitals?

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The 2017-18 Washington Capitals were big, strong, mean, talented and hungry.

The 2019-20 Washington Capitals, in their season-ending Game 5 loss to the New York Islanders, looked slow, sluggish and, well, disinterested. In Thursday’s defeat, the Caps iced 10 players from the 2017-18 Stanley Cup team, but the group barely resembled the champions of two years ago. The Caps mustered 21 shots in a do-or-die game. They couldn’t get to the net all series, either. In 5-on-5 play, the Isles, not known for their offense, doubled Washington in high-danger shot attempts, 48-24.

“The league is too good – If you’re not physically engaged and mentally on top of your game going against any team in this league, you’re going to come up short,” said Capitals coach Todd Reirden in a Zoom call after the game.