Saturday, November 24, 2007

Two in a Row: Caps Top Canes

Capitals 5, Hurricanes 2

What's more encouraging that a 4-3 overtime win against the 5th place team in the Eastern Conference? A 5-2 win over the 2nd place team in the Eastern Conference.

Anyone seen the movie "Major League"? If you have, you may remember this quote:

"You guys won today. You guys won yesterday, so that's two in a row. If you win again tomorrow, that's called a 'winning streak'. It has happened before."

...which pretty much sums up where the Capitals stand at this point.

For the second game in a row the Capitals came out and played with more jump, more creativity and more confidence than we've seen most of the season and looked like they expected to win. Boudreau's arrival may have sparked that confidence but the two wins over tough opponents is what's really going to help it grow.

One immediate change: special teams. It's been said many times that the key to success in the post-lockout NHL (I refuse to use the term "new NHL" anymore. It's been two full seasons people.) is good special teams and the Caps certainly had that tonight - they were 3-4 on the powerplay and killed off all three Carolina man advantages.

Next up: Buffalo, another team playing below their expectations this year, at Verizon Center, Monday.

DMG's 3 Stars
(1) Olaf Kolzig (35 saves on 37 shots; .946 save percentage)
(2) Alex Ovechkin (2 goals)
(3) Michael Nylander (1 goal, 2 assists)

"If we have success next week, we're right back in it"
-Bruce Boudreau

Quick Hits

  • I'm sure many a Canes fan will be crying foul over Justin Williams' disallowed goal, but it was the right call. My logic: the puck moved downwards after it made contact with the stick and still hit the crossbar, ergo the stick was above the crossbar when it hit the puck.
  • Backstrom continued his solid play on the 4th line, picking up a pair of assists.
  • According to the broadcast team in Comcast, Boudreau received a congratulatory call from none other than Don Cherry in the last couple days.
  • With the way he skates, hits and plays in the offensive zone, Mike Green is going to become one of the most exciting defensemen in this league to watch.
  • It's not surprising Erik Cole managed to split the 'D' pairing of Milan Jurcina and John Erskine, as Cole is one of the better skaters in the NHL and neither Jurcina or Erskine is exactly agile.
  • Great crowd at the Verizon Center last night, both in numbers and enthusiasm.


usually frustrated caps fan said...

dmg: Great post and thanks for adding Mark's Musings to your links I've added Caps Blue Line to mine as well.

Many interesting articles around the league about the Caps these days. My next prediction is that GMGM turns his attention to getting Ovie resigned now, assuming BB told him he wants all 8 D-men for the next several months to sort them out and ownership backs him. Why do I think the two items are related - well I'm an integrated systems guy so to me everything is related in one way or another. Here's the causes and effects as I see them:

1) If the Caps are winning at greater than 0.500 then most player personnel moves have as much chance as hurtinng as they do helping, so the urgency to make them, especially given the issues with trades these days.

2) If he can't spend time doing trades, that gives GMGM time to do other things - the things we need him to do and he knows he should do, assuming winning ways continue and he returns to being secure about his own future: a) unpack his boxes; b) start figuring out if he has the right coaching staff in place in Hershey and work with Boudreau to figure out if he keeps BB in place if they'll make any changes to the asst coach lineup next season; c) take a good hard look at the goalie pipeline (which isn't as bad as many make it out to be); d) go over the latest scouting reports and id the next set of folks the Caps will need in 3-5 years assuming they are successful and have to deal with post playoff raids of their young unrestricted free agents like Buffalo went through this past off-season;

and most important e) put things in place that are required to keep the Caps rolling the next two years, the highest priority on that list being getting Ovie's contract behind them since once that's done they'll know how much near term Cap room they have for other guys' deals.

Notice nothing here said I think GMGM should spend time "helping" Boudreau figure out how to coach a set of young talented players, not just because of the last two games but because of the last 5 years of BB's history, I think he has that covered. Either he'll be successful with this bunch or both BB and GMGM will be looking for their next employer in April. Anyway that's not the GM's job so why expect/want him to do it?

Shmee said...

After last night's flat third period, I cant help but wonder what its going to take for certain members of the Caps to wake up.