The popular rub on the Caps ever since they stopped resembling a slopbucket of a hockey team and something more like a, uh, hockey team of a hockey team, has been that they're beating up on the sopping dregs of the NHL's brew barrel, punching their annual ticket to the playoffs frequent-flyer discount style. After a quality win on Tuesday evening in Montreal, the Caps found themselves once more in the company of one of said dregs, the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Caps took care of business, as the powerplay struck, and then Mike Green would add the game winner at even strength. The Caps found an elusive thing— the back of an empty net— and took a 3 to 1 victory into the locker room.
Ten more notes on the game:
- When you've got the best powerplay in the league, and by more than a matter of magnitude, it's probably not in your best interest to end them with stupid penalties before they're ten seconds old. Ending them with a goal after fourteen seconds, on the other hand...
- Nobody's putting Mike Ribeiro up for a Lady Byng nomination. But if it's Joe Corvo on the receiving end of his sandpaper tongue, you can go ahead and give us a towel, a jar of vaseline, and toss us in Ribs' corner.
- Another day, another power play goal for, and another power play goal against. These guys have really got to figure out how to keep the puck out of the net when they're a man down. The shoddy PKing is really balancing out the special teams scale, which given the weight of the power play should really be tipped in the Caps' favor.
- How 'bout that Mike Green? Adam Oates recently told Green that he didn't want to see the blue liner below the circles anymore. The result? Well, we won't pretend that we haven't seen a few things that might get Greener in a bit of trouble if reported to the 'ol benchboss, but the instruction has mostly translated to Green pulling the trigger at the circles. And what a beautiful thing it has been to behold...
- Even with injuries to Joel Ward, Brooks Laich, and Martin Erat, it's been tough for Wojtek Wolski to sniff the ice. Wolski brought up the ice time caboose again today. No matter how small or infrequent Wolski's opportunities are, or have been, it seems like the only way he's going to increase them is by doing something with the ones he's given. The helper on Green's snipe might be helper in more ways than one.
- You don't always win games that you open up by getting outshot 14 to nothing, but when you do it's probably because your goaltender stood on his head. Nice to see Braden Holtby following up Michal Neuvirth's consecutive solid starts with one of his own. Caps fans know all too well what a hot goalie can mean this time of year. Here's to hoping ours are just beginning to warm up.
- With the second line struggling to produce at even strength, and with two guys who are likely candidates to spark them nursing various ailments in the pressbox, Adam Oates turned to the obvious option: Aaron Volpatti. Volpatti didn't do much of notice, which is...something. I don't know about you guys, but I sure wouldn't mind seeing Mathieu Perreault get a look. He's up there on the team in points per 60 minutes.
- 13-3-0 against the division. 13-3-0. Gonna miss you, Southeast. Like, seriously.
- Nicklas Backstrom continues to slaughter in the faceoff circle, and was particular effective tonight in the offensive zone. When you are sharing the zone with the guy who's presently the most lethal scorer in the league, that's a mighty fine way to go about your business.
- It warms our hearts to see someone in a red sweater taking issue with Jeff Skinner's...well, Jeff Skinner-ness. It warms our hearts even more that the party taking offense is a lightweight of our own in Marcus Johansson. Mojo's been warming our hearts in more ways than this lately, but more on that later...
- Only seven games left to go in the season. Yeah, it's been short, but man have we seen a lot of hockey in a short bit of time. Ugly hockey, pretty hockey, ugly pretty hockey, pretty ugly hockey. We've seen it all. It's crunch time now. I reckon another seven games of ugly pretty hockey could buy the team another few weeks of pretty ugly hockey. What say you, Caps?
No one's going to say tonight's gameplay was executed to perfection, but as they always are, the two points in the standings are pretty as any ol' walloping for the Caps— especially with the fetid stench of the Winnipeg Jets' breath hot on their necks.