There wasn't much that was pretty about last night's 4-1 win over the Leafs, and that, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing. The Caps simply took care of business in a workmanlike manner against a lesser opponent, and that was that - two points... next?
A few thoughts on the game:
- Jose Theodore was outstanding, as he has been for the last seven periods and a bit of OT, in which he has stopped 64 of the 68 shots he has faced (94.1%).
- Brooks Laich's two goals were scored on strong moves to the net - this is how he got to 20 goals last year, and how he's going to get there again this year if he does.
- Another two goals for Alex Ovechkin and two helpers for Nicklas Backstrom. Yawn.
- Sticking with Backstrom, he may have been credited with just one hit, but he really is starting to add a physical component to his game. He is going to be so very good.
- Mikhail Grabovski is a nice little player.
- Mike Green and Jeff Schultz looked (understandably) rusty early, but were more in the flow of things as the game wore on.
- Sean Collins, on the other hand, still hasn't caught up to NHL speed. Why is he still here when Tyler Sloan and Bryan Helmer are in Hershey?
- I've never seen a defenseman take longer to set up behind his own net - and with less impressive results - than Tomas Kaberle.
- Milan Jurcina had a strong game (four blocked shots, seven shot attempts - second on the team) and his play to win the battle that got the puck to AO for his game-winner deserves a shout-out. So there it is.
- Underrated: Bruce Boudreau's ice time management - no one over 22:39 (Karl Alzner).
- David Steckel had a very good game, especially in the faceoff circle, where he won 11 of 14 draws (79%).
- Ian White's 'stache is a joke.
- Shaone Morrisonn brought a bit more physicality to the rink last night than he has brought in a while.
And so it's off to Buffalo for a tougher opponent in a tougher building on Tuesday. But with the Caps now 7-1-1 against the Northeast Division, a double-digit lead in the Southeast, and the memory still fresh of beating these same Sabres just a few days ago, perhaps the Caps will carry a little swagger with them into a road game and dictate play from the opening draw for a change. A fan can dream, can't he?