Eller opens up on Caps' home struggles, poor timing of goals


Monday's loss wasn't only the Capitals' sixth straight loss at home, but also indicative of the way the Capitals have been losing this season. 

Now 8-12-2 in 2022, Washington erased a 3-1 deficit before falling 5-3 to the Maple Leafs. It was another combination of a poor start and not having enough left in the tank to finish the job after making up for that poor start. 

"It feels like it's been that way for a while," Caps center Lars Eller told "The Sports Junkies" on Thursday morning. "There's been so many games where we hadn't had a great start then we battled back from a one or two goal deficit to tie up the game and then either in overtime or the last five minutes we end up letting in a goal and losing the game and losing one or two points. That's been happening consistently too much over the past two months I think."

Eller said he couldn't explain the reasons for these home struggles, but when those types of losses happen at home like his recent stretch, it can wear on the players. 

"It's hard. You don't leave the rink with a good feeling. You're pissed and frustrated. Yeah, it's not a good feeling at all," Eller said.

He added: "It has a psychological effect to it. The timing with a lot of these goals are hard, like you said with letting one in with a second left. You played even for 19 minutes 59 seconds and then you let up a goal and you leave that period with not as good a feeling as would have otherwise. The timing of these goals have been tough on us."

With Toronto's Justin Holl scoring with two seconds left in the first period to make it 3-1 and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux scoring 11 seconds into Saturday's loss, the timing of these goals given up will certainly be a priority to clean up. While all this is demoralizing, Eller's confident the Caps have what it takes to turn it around. 

"At the same time, we're such an experienced and veteran group that we're not going to get too down on ourselves either. You have to stay leveled psychologically...I'm not worried, but at the same time I know we have to start getting better. I know we have it within our room and within our team that we are much better than our record indicates the last two months, but we have to start showing it on the ice."

To break this skid, Washington welcomes the Carolina Hurricanes, whose 79 points has them atop the Eastern Conference. It'll be quite the challenge to fix these problems against a team that's loaded from top to bottom. 

"They have a very balanced team. They have top-notch goaltending, they have very good defensemen that are part of the offense. I feel like they attack with five guys and they defend with five guys," Eller said. "They're very fast. They go from defense to offense very easy. Moving the puck and the way they skate, they're up there with the very best, if not the best. They have four very good lines."

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