So, when last we discussed the Capitals, they had slid into a bit of a slump. They rebounded this week after naming Ovechkin their new team Captain. More importantly, we saw the team starting to get comfortable again.
The team’s obviously been working on their passing, and shooting accuracy, but more importantly, they are starting to trust each other again. We aren’t seeing as many occasions where guys are bumping into each other, or passing the puck to vacant spaces. They have their confidence back. Lets get to the recap.
Tuesday, January 5th 2010, vs. Montreal – After losing the past three straight, the Caps bounced back with a much needed win in front of the Verizon faithful. The Caps came out pretty tentative and skated to a 0-0 tie with the Canadiens at the end of the first period. It would be Thomas Flieschmann who would get the first goal of the game in the second. Later in the second, if you got up for a bathroom break at the wrong time, you might have left a 1-0 game only to return and find that the Caps were up 3-1. There were three goals scored in a little over two minutes (one for Montreal, and two for the Caps). Montreal would narrow the Caps lead to 1 with a goal in the third, but it was Alex Semin with his second goal of the night that would give the Caps the insurance marker and a much needed victory on home ice 4-2.
One streak still continues – Washington’s three game losing skid ended many of the Caps’ scoring streaks, but the Caps have yet to lose three straight games in regulation under Coach Bruce Boudreau in his 185 games as the bench boss.
Like buttah – Thomas Flieschmann played his first game as a center for the Washington Capitals. How’d it go? One goal, two assists, a +2 rating and he was 67% on face-offs.
Thursday, January 7th, 2010 vs. Ottawa – Jose Theodore was let out of the dog-house Thursday night to face a team with one of the worst road records in the NHL. The Caps are often known for “playing down” to their opponents, but on this night they took the lead early and ran with it. After scoring two goals in the first period, the Caps lead looked a little shaky late in the second as Ottawa closed to within a goal to end the second period. It was Nicklas Backstrom who not only got the Caps their two-goal lead back, but also gave them a three point advantage in the third period. Ovechkin would score one late in the third to make it a four goal lead, but Ottawa would get one more in the waning seconds of the third and the Caps would hold on for a 5-2 win.
I’ll have what he’s having – Nicklas Backstrom has been a regular set up man for Alex Ovechkin and has tallied over 50 assists in both of his first two years. He seems to be on track to not only make it a three-peat, but at his current rate, he may score more than 30 goals this season!
Off the chain – Caps’ netminder Jose Theodore has been stewing on the bench, unhappy to see his job go to AHL Call-Up Michal Neuvirth. This game was not only a brief rest for Nuevirth, but a show of confidence for Theodore who had not beaten the Senators since October 19th, 2006. Granted, the Sens have a horrific road record, and Theodore doesn’t see them very often (even though it’s been years since he last beat them, he’d only lost to them twice during that time), still, when the coach throws you a bone, you take it a run, right?
Saturday, January 9th, 2009 at Atlanta – Atlanta was coming into this game after only just recently snapping a nine-game losing streak. The Caps were flying high after a 5-2 victory over Ottawa. The two previous meetings between these teams were decided by a single goal, and the mix seemed just about right for this to be just as close. I figured the Caps would win, and told a friend of mine I predicted a 4-3 OT win. I was forced to rethink that prediction when it was 4-0 less than five minutes into the second period. I won’t get too much into the uglier details for Atlanta fans, but the Caps would score four goals on two different goaltenders, and roll to an easy 8-1 win.
Maybe Atlanta’s coach needs to switch to Pepto – Atlanta was certainly feeling some heartburn finding themselves down 4-0 less than halfway through the game. It may be possible that he was asking for “Prilosec” instead of “Pavelec”, but in any case, the goalies were switched, and the scoring continued.
Be careful what you wish for – Bruce Boudreau turned 55 Saturday night. It would seem that several Caps’ players had the same idea on what to get him for his birthday!
I’m out of time this week, so I’ve got to cut the recap a little short. I’m glad to see the Caps’ have turned things around, and just in time too, as they face a string of divisional opponents! They seem to have righted the ship, now it’s just a matter of staying the course!