Physical battle with St. Louis leaves Capitals battered, blue

The streaky Washington Capitals were unable to find a veteran goaltender before the NHL trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean they sat idle. General manager Brian MacLellan acquired a pair of forwards — Seattle’s Marcus Johansson and Arizona’s Johan Larsson — to bolster his team’s lineup in preparation for the postseason.

Johansson was back in D.C., where he spent his first seven seasons, in time to play the St. Louis Blues, while Larsson remains sidelined as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. MacLellan’s hope is that these veterans can provide coach Peter Laviolette with stability and consistency that has been lacking due to injuries and uneven play from rookies and younger players.

Unfortunately, Washington was unable to take advantage of Johansson’s first game back in a Capitals’ sweater since 2016 due to shoddy team defense and an overall lack of discipline.

“We gave up way too much in the first period,” Laviolette said after the 5-2 loss. “Too many mental mistakes, too many soft mistakes. Too easy to play against.”

The Caps were outshot 38 to 21, lost 63 percent of their faceoffs and generally looked a step slow on the night, as they dropped their second-straight home game. With 17 games remaining, nights like this are going to need to become few and far between for this season to end in anything other than disappointment.

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