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Friday, March 19, 2010

ReCAP (3/18/10)

Let me start off by saying thank God that neither the Carolina Hurricanes or the Tampa Bay Lightning are inside the playoff bubble, and both of those team’s playoff chances are slim at best. Thank. God.

Capitals Hurricanes Hockey

(Photo from Yahoo)

Yesterday, the Alexander Ovechkin-less Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes played, yet again, a pretty even game. None of the previous four against the Hurricanes have easy games for the Capitals; take a look….

11/30/09 Caps 3, Canes 2  
12/11/09 Caps 4, Canes 3  
12/28/09 Caps 3, Canes 6 (Third period meltdown)
3/10/10 Caps 4, Canes 3  

So, once again, thank God that this team is not the 8 seed in the East…. a Capitals-Hurricanes playoff series would be scary, because I could not say, with full confidence, that the Capitals could win that. The Tampa Bay Lightning….. I’ll save that for the PreCAP of tomorrow’s game.

Anyway….. yesterday’s game was pretty even, with no goals in the first period. The Capitals took way too many penalties in the 2nd and 3rd periods, however, and could not stop the Hurricanes. The first Carolina goal, by Eric Staal, was not in any way Varlamov’s fault; it was a 5-3 and two Capitals defenseman weren’t even near the goal, so Staal had an open shot.

Varlamov looked very good for the first two periods as he returns to November 2009 form; I think that he will get there, but I’m not sure if it will happen by the playoffs. However, I could see a well rested, extremely good goaltender to be helpful should Jose Theodore implode immediately, or down the stretch. Options are always good.

Eric Fehr, by the way, is amazing. He gets little-to-no ice time, yet still manages to score consistently. Fehr had only 12:00 minutes of ice time last night, third-to-last among forwards, yet still managed to get a goal, 4 shots, and an even +/-. Impressive.

Eric Fehr also became the NHL-leading seventh 20-goal scorer for the Washington Capitals. The Vancouver Canucks are next, with only four 20-goal scorers. To say the Capitals are not an extremely deep team would be lying. Here’s how Capitals have scored so far this season:

Name G A P +/-
A. Ovechkin 44 52 96 41
A. Semin 32 38 70 26
N. Backstrom 29 58 87 31
M. Knuble 25 21 46 21
B. Laich 24 31 55 12
E. Fehr 20 15 35 19
T. Fleischmann 20 27 47 5
M. Green 17 53 70 30
B. Morrison 12 28 38 20

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

The important thing that happened yesterday was that the Capitals got a standings point. The Caps are inching ever closer to the franchise record of 108 points; they currently have 104. Also, the Capitals are looking more and more like a lock for the 2010 President’s Trophy, as they have 8 points more than San Jose or Chicago.

Thankfully Alexander Ovechkin returns tomorrow. And the Washington Capitals roll on.

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