Ok folks, there's an NHL Team out there that has the following things going for it:
- The team is second overall in the NHL on the penalty kill
- Has allowed 2 or fewer goals per game in all but one game in the past month
- Is only five points out of first in their division
- Is the same five points from being the second seed in the conference playoffs
Yes, I am talking about the Caps, and there were some guys sitting behind me at the last game yelling things at the team (as if they can hear from section 421). Things like "First Round and Out", "Gonna miss the playoffs", and "Fire Boudreau".
Sure the way the Caps played Saturday they looked like a team that was going to lose a lot of games.
But I don't think that will happen. The team is trending the right way in terms of defensive play. The last week notwithstanding, the Caps are turning into one of the better defensive teams in the league. They are seriously good at keeping the puck out of their own net.
The problem is goal scoring, or lack thereof. Do you all really think that Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Green, etc. are so far gone that they're never going to regain some of the scoring touch they had in 2009-10? Even if they all don't, if one or two of them do, then watch out. Even if none of them do, the Caps are playing well enough defensively to be a danger to any team they meet in the playoffs (and they *will* go to the playoffs, I don't see them missing The Show).
One final note. It's been said that winning the Presidents' Trophy is a hinderance to winning the Stanley Cup. Maybe. But if you remember in 1979, the last year of the Habs' late 1970's dynasty, the Islanders had the top regular season record. In 1979-80 they stumbled around in the regular season, but they added some key players by the trading deadline (Butch Goring and Ken Morrow) and went on to win four straight Stanley Cups. It is entirely possible the Caps can make some sort of move and become a Cup winner. No guarantee of course.
But come on folks... no panicking!