Welcome back Caps fans! The All-Star break didn’t disappoint NHL and Caps fans this past weekend. While the format was odd for us hockey purists, we could all relate to the “first picked-last picked” angst and uncomfortable feelings that this All-Star draft delivered.
Coming back from the All-Star game, the Capitals face a tough test during the final 32 games. The Caps play 22 games against Eastern Conference opponents. If the Caps play consistently, this means they finish in the top 5-6 in the East. If they play poorly, this spells doom for Caps playoff hopes… Missing the playoffs is a possibility, as playing so many Eastern Conference games could cause feast or famine, as far as points are concerned.
The Cap’s power play must improve during the final 32 games. During the first 26 games, the Caps scored 22 power play goals. Unfortunately, the Caps have scored 8 power play goals during the last 26 games. Such futility will have the Caps starving for points down the stretch.
Another post-All-Star game tradition, certainly to play a big role in the Cap’s Stanley Cup bid… the Trade Deadline (Feb. 28). The Caps have holes to fill. The biggest hole – players who have proven success during the playoffs. Let’s be realistic, the Caps can’t get top playoff quality talent by trading 3rd and 4th liners and mid to low draft picks. They need to trade potential talent for proven talent… that means names like Perreault, Chimera, and Laich are all candidates (individually and collectively).
So how did the Caps start the final 32 game stretch? A 3-2 shootout loss to the Canadians tonight, an Eastern Conference foe. It was a 3 point game with the Caps taking 1 point… a point is a point! Power play- the Cap’s scored on their first power play chance! Good start towards improvement on the power play.
Good and bad news from my trio players to watch prior to the trade deadline… Perreault showed a tremendous flash of ability, speed and skill. He broke up a 2 on 1 odd-man rush; then raced down the ice and he threw a wrist shot in from a tough angle. The puck found Price’s five hole… a soft goal, but a good overall play. Chimera had a chance to clinch the game short-handed, but his nemesis (his hands) let him (and the Caps) down. And Laich had three penalties… 31 more games in the regular season and Feb. 28th is coming soon!
About the Author
Written by Dennis Patchett
Huge NHL and soccer fan! Love Columbus, Ohio sports! Buckeyes, Crew, Blue Jackets! Also, the Washington Capitals are my new adopted NHL team!