For the third time since the beginning of the month, the Caps will play an enormous intra-divisional game. In the first two, the goaltending was great, allowing just three goals and an empty netter against. The offense, however, was dormant, and the Caps dropped both games.
Three inter-division February wins have vaulted the Caps into first place, but the fact of the matter is that with a dozen more Southeast Division match ups remaining on the schedule and only a .500 intra-divisional record, the Caps need to step it up against their "rivals," and that needs to start sooner rather than later.
Following that in-depth analysis, I'll leave you with your "how 'bout that?" stat of the day: In the five previous meetings between these teams on the season, five different goalies have gotten wins - Brent Johnson, Ondrej Pavelec, Johan Hedberg, Olie Kolzig and Kari Lehtonen. Maybe the Caps should give Freddy Cassivi tonight's start....
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
In John Buccigross's world, the Leafs don't want Alex Ovechkin because he's only the fifth best player in the League and people probably give a crap whether or not there's any Ben Folds on Marissa Miller's iPod.... Sami Lepisto's call-up/send-down yesterday ensures that, at least for another few days, Miika Elomo can keep the title of "Last Finn to Play for the Caps."... Ooohhh, scary.... Wha?! Someone has more meaningful goals than AO?! Inconceivable!... Plenty of love here.... No matter who wins, the boss's bases are covered.... This is awesome, but if we're going with movie-based Caps promo posters of old, give me "Goalbusters Three."... Finally, one year ago today we looked at AO's artwork (one of our most popular posts last year), took inspiration from a dead guy from across the pond, rocked a brand new NHL ad and played bench boss, and two years ago today we bid adieu to the NHL for a couple of weeks and used an Olympic prediction (which, btw, we nailed) as an excuse to post a Rink favorite picture.
Hart: Tomas Vanek (3G, including the game-winner, on 3 SOG, +1)
Ross: Thomas Vanek, Trent Hunter (3 points each)
Norris: Dion Phaneuf (Game-tying goal with :50 left, A, 2 SOG, 2 hits)
Vezina: J.-S. Giguere (W, 32 saves on 34 shots against)
Richard: Thomas Vanek (3G)
Calder: Karri Ramo (W, 19 saves on 21 shots against)
Aiken: Chris Osgood (L, 3 goals allowed on 4 shots against in just 8:49 of work)