The Capitals lost a tough one 4-3 in overtime last night, and had their fifth goal of the season disallowed during the loss – and when Dylan Strome joined the Junkies today as he does every week, he also couldn't believe how high that number was.
“It’s crazy we have five goals overturned and we one incorrect challenge the other way, so that’s six total that have gone against us,” Strome said. “Obviously offsides is offsides, and I think they do it because they don't want the mistakes that happened like in the playoffs a couple of years ago, but it’s just, when a guy is an inch off side, it's like, is that really affecting the play? But, I mean, rules are rules, kind of got to live by that.”
The most frustrating ones though, especially for a team struggling to score, are when goalie interference are called – like in the Islanders game last weekend.
“We were down 3-0 to the Islanders, playing a really good game but we couldn't score, and then Hardy shoots one from the point and it was very, very questionable that it was goal interference,” Strome said. “We can complain as much as we want, but that's the rules of the game, and I think it's usually Toronto or the refs making the decision. So yeah, it's frustrating, especially when we're having a little bit of trouble scoring goals. That’s definitely a momentum killer, expecially when we’re in all these tight games.”
Among the positives from the game, though, was a two-goal night from Anthony Mantha, even though he had to leave the game late after being struck in the head with a puck. Strome was just driving to practice as he spoke to the Junks so he had no physical update, but was hopeful they avoided the worst.
“Hopefully he's okay, but he's been playing really well the couple of games, ever since that New Jersey game. He’s a dominant player when he's skating good, and he has a great shot,” Strome said. “I know we need him to play just like that, and he's been doing a great job with that, so hopefully he's doing all right. We're getting pretty thin up up front there with a couple of injuries, so it's getting dicey up there.”
Dicey as well because the team is getting little from Alex Ovechkin, whose chase for Gretzky is stuck on 824 with just two goals so far this season – but, Strome says it’s no reason to worry.
“No,” Strome said. “I think every good goal scorer goes through, you know, some stretches where the pucks aren't going in. He’s getting the chances, and I think I can do a better job of setting him up – obviously not great when I have no assists through the first 11 games, so that’s got to change and is on me – but he’s getting the chances, and we have to do a bit better of a job of freeing him up and getting him some looks.
It’s a slog now, but Strome is confident Ovi’s time will come.
“I'm not worried about him at all. I said to a reporter a couple of days ago, I'm not going to be surprised if he has like 11 or 12 goals through the first 20 games of the season,” Strome said. “So, I think a hot streak is coming. I've had a few chances to set him up where, you know, the D has got a stick on it or just bounced over, and that's kind of the way it's been for our whole team right now. So I think you're gonna see the tide start to change.”
Take a listen to Strome’s entire segment above, which also includes thoughts on Connor McMichael’s start, this year’s team compared to last year’s, and more!