The Capitals current winning streak - now up to an astounding fourteen games - has been a hell of a good time but, in terms of the season's one and only real goal, it hasn't meant as much as it looks like it does on paper. Don't get me wrong -- like every other Caps fan I want to see the team win every time I was in to the Verizon Center or flip on a game. It's just that while wins over Atlanta, Boston, and the Islanders are nice, they don't exactly fill me with confidence in the Caps taking on the best teams in the NHL and coming out successful this spring. That's why today's game meant more than most of the ones in the streak. It's only February, but a come from behind win against last year Cup champs at least means a little something.
Ten additional thoughts on this afternoon's game:
- With home ice advantage and the Penguins having played yesterday and enduring a hectic travel schedule, priority one in the Caps' game plan should have been avoiding shooting themselves in the foot. They didn't do that - as goals off Tyler Sloan and Tom Poti giveaway, Brian Pothier getting out position to make a hit, and a few untimely penalties attest - and it cost them.
- Speaking of Sloan, while I still have questions about his viability as an NHL defenseman, I can get behind the decision to dress him over John Erskine for his speed. Having him on the ice to start overtime on the other hand...
- I don't think I have ever seen an NHL player pass on a net as wide open at the one Jason Chimera passed on early in the third period on his two-on-one with Eric Fehr, which was a shame because that was the culmination of a heck of play on Fehr's part.
- We could get up in arms about Craig Adams' hit on Alex Ovechkin, and many Caps fans will rightfully do so, but it's also an opportunity to demonstrate the flawed approach to using on-ice discipline as an indicator of supplemental discipline, a tactic so many fans seemed to be enamored with in light of Mike Green's suspension.
- On the topic of dangerous hits (and I know this isn't exactly breaking news), Mike Milbury's an idiot. The idea that it's perfectly acceptable for players to "cross the line", in this case defined as a cheap shot that ended the career of one of the league's best and most exciting players, as long as they're willing to fight afterward is perhaps the most perfect example of idiotic Old Time Hockey machismo I've ever heard.
- Pierre McGuire loves Jeff Schultz so much if we dropped a "Schultz for Norris" on him, he'd probably agree. Or at least give it some consideration.
- Brief message to Shaone Morrisonn: trying to control Sidney Crosby around the net is a great idea. But the way to go about it isn't by knocking Crosby into Jose Theodore and then pinning him to the ice in the crease.
- The Caps did a pretty good job in the physical game, and it showed up on the scoresheet. The team was credited with 32 hits, including six from Brooks Laich, four from Brian Pothier, and three from Jeff Schultz.
- I guess I can appreciate the effort, but if Kris Letang thinks that mixing it up with Alex Ovechkin is going to result in anything other than a very, very long night on Letang's part he is sadly mistaken.
- There's a certain irony in a guy who was assessed a game misconduct for bitching to the officials after the game had ended dropping a quote like "He’s a baby. I don’t know [if it was a high stick] but he does that all game long. I got zero respect for the kid", as Brooks Orpik did (in regards to Alexander Semin).
For now the Caps have a rare two and a half day rest. Of course, they'll probably be more than happy to take their road trip up to Montreal and Ottawa. Got to get away from all this damn snow, after all.