Like a pride of lions, the Washington Capitals galloped through and out of February with an impressive 9-4 mark, only looking up at the Boston Bruins for the Eastern Conference lead. March arrived and during the first week of play, life for the Caps became a little less beastly. Oh, you saw the title and thought college basketball was the topic of discussion? My apologies for any disappointment, but what I’m about to discuss is equally intriguing.
Throughout the 2008-09 season, the Capitals looked primed for a serious playoff run. How? They’ve been quick to draw first blood (or score the initial goal), while their physical play increased. Clearing the puck has been a major priority for the Caps this season (making goal scoring more difficult for opposing teams) as well as strong defensive play. Another key attribute the Capitals excelled in so far this season is goal tending. Goalie Jose Theodore has only given up an impressive 134 goals out of 1,362 shots. Having reining NHL MVP, Alexander “Alex the Great” Ovechkin on your team doesn’t hurt either.
It’s common knowledge that March brings about madness, but if Coach Bruce Boudreau had his way, the Caps would trade in the first week of the month for some “magic beans”. Reason being is that Washington underwent a four game losing streak. The silver lining in this is that they play 82 regular season games, but if the slide becomes a slippery slope, Washington could play themselves out of home-ice advantage. In it, the defense gave up an average of 4.25 goals per game while the offense could only muster two per contest.
As if the lackluster play wasn’t enough, Washington celebrated it’s first goal of a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. This would send Boudreau through the roof, putting his team on blast for celebrating a goal while in a funk. Call that a mean gut check because the capitals responded well. They’ve won five of their last seven games, which includes third quarter shut in a 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers and a 5-2 pasting of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Looking at their recent outings, it’s safe to say that the Capitals responded well to Boudreau’s call. The team seems to have awaken from hibernation, which spells trouble for the rest of the NHL.
Written by Antoine Hoffman