We are all holding our collective breath while we await word on the condition of Alex Ovechkin. As of this writing, I have no further details on Ovechkin other than that he suffered an “upper body injury” and that the team will know more about him on Tuesday.
The players have the day off today, and boy do they need it. They played three games in four nights, and I’m sure they are exhausted.
The Caps played four total games last week and went 2-0-2, netting six of a possible eight points. Atlanta was their only divisional opponent, and they won that game in regulation.
Washington is 8-2-4 for the season and currently holds a commanding lead in the Southeast division with 20 points, followed by Tampa Bay in second place with 12, and Atlanta with 11.
We got a lot of games to cover, so let’s get to the recap!
Tuesday, October 27th vs. the Flyers – The Caps have been a “strike first” team this season, but after being held scoreless in the first period they found themselves down 2-0 after allowing Philly to score twice in the second period. Washington bounced back by scoring four unanswered goals and carried their win streak to five games.
It wasn’t for lack of effort – Philly peppered the net with 43 shots on goal, but it was “No Way” Jose Theodore that slammed the door shut stopping 41 of those shots including 20 in the third period alone. Even though Theo’s career record for shots faced in a game is 47, the 43 he faced Tuesday night were the most he had ever faced as a Washington Capital.
Can’t keep a good team down – The Caps have only had to come from behind on multifocal deficits twice this season, and in both occasions they have come back to win it. The previous time was the game immediately preceding this one where they found themselves down to the Islanders. Brooks Laich scored the game winner in OT.
Thursday, October 29th @ the Thrashers…again – It had to feel like déjà vu for the Caps who had just faced this Thrasher team the previous Thursday…also in Atlanta. It had to feel like déjà vu for the Thrashers as well as they fell to the Caps again on home ice. The Caps, who knew they had to play another game in less than 24 hours tried to put this game away early so they could start resting up their players for Friday night’s game. In a classic example of why you never “look past” you current opponent the Caps watched a three-goal lead evaporate in the third period. Atlanta, being down 3-2 pulled their goalie in favor of the extra attacker. Mike Knuble had no idea his empty net goal would be the game winner (it made the score 4-2) as the Thrashers got what would have been the tying goal in the last 1/2 second of regulation, but by then it wasn’t enough and the Caps held on for the 4-3 win.
Define: “Four Point” game – When you beat a division opponent in regulation, it is referred to as a “four point” game. You gain two points in the standings for the win, and at the same time cost your opponents two points by preventing them from winning. To really see it, you need to look at the season standings. Washington held a 7-point lead in the Southeast division going into Thursday’s game. Two teams were tied for second; Atlanta and Tampa. At the end of the night, the Caps still had a seven point lead in the division (Tampa won their game), but now had a nine point lead over Atlanta.
Back on Track – After a short slump where he was held without a goal for two games Alex Ovechkin came back and scored four goals in two games including two here versus Atlanta to give him 13 goals in 12 games.
Friday, October 30th vs. the Islanders – While the Caps were in Atlanta tangling with the Thrashers, the Islanders were in Washington helping themselves to whatever the Caps had in the fridge and kicking their feet up onto the coffee table. The Caps may have had the home ice advantage, but considering that they had just finished playing a game the night before, it was New York that had the advantage. The Caps kept it close and even held the lead a few times throughout the game, but just couldn’t seem to shake the Islanders and ultimately fell to them in OT by the final score of 4-3.
THN on Ice – Our own Jake Russell was at the game Friday night posting a live blog from the press box. Click here to check out his blog and video interviews after the game.
Sunday, November 1st vs. the Blue Jackets – Even though the Caps lost Alex Ovechkin early in the second period, they weren’t going to go down without a fight. After scoring the game’s first goal, they found themselves trailing 2-1 at the beginning of the third period. Brooks Laich stepped up and scored the game tying and go-ahead goals putting the Caps up 3-2. A short while later Raffi Torres tied it up, but the Caps regained their lead when Quintin Lang scored with a little more than three minutes left to play in regulation. With less than half a minute to go in regulation, it was Torres who brought the score even at four and forced overtime where the Caps would fall 5-4.
Sometimes, it’s just not going to be your day – Jose Theodore played a great game, but was victimized by two unfortunate incidents that lead to goals. The first of which was in the second period when Theo went behind the net to play the puck, only to have the puck take an unusual bounce away from him, back towards the front of the net and straight to R. J. Umberger who stashed it home. The second came midway through the third where Theo had his stick knocked out of his hand as he slid left to protect against the wrap-around he had nothing to defend his right side where Raffi Torres was waiting to tap the puck in on the now stickless stick-side.
Coming Up – The Caps have three games this week starting Wednesday night in New Jersey. They then go to Florida to face the Panthers on Friday, and bring them back to DC for another meeting on Saturday.
In the meantime, we’ll all be crossing our fingers on Ovechkin!
C-A-P-S, Caps! Caps! Caps!