The Caps' offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment, and it was on full display tonight: eight of the team's top-nine forwards had a point in a 7-2 rout of the Islanders (the one that didn't was Alex Ovechkin, who fired ten shots on goal and still has twenty points in his last ten games), and the second line combined for three goals and two assists with the third line combining for two goals and four helpers. While impressive, none of this is terribly surprising.
What might surprise some, however, is how well the defense and the goalies are playing. Over the last half-dozen games, the Caps have allowed just 13 goals against while killing off 87.5% of the power plays they've faced, and their goalies have a .937 save percentage.
From offense to defense to goaltending, from power play to penalty kill to even strength, this team is absolutely rolling at present and shows no signs of letting up. But at some point, of course, they will... won't they?
Ten more notes on the game:
Brendan Morrison scored his first goal of the month (and second since December 3) just 65 seconds into the game after cleanly winning a draw and going to the net for a deflection. That was the "good" from B-Mo (who added a helper). The "bad" came just 11 seconds after the Caps pushed the score to 2-0 less than four minutes later when Morrison took a neutral zone hooking call that let the Isles back into the game (for the moment) with a goal on the ensuing power play.
- The last time John Erskine scored was 738 days ago. The last game in which he had a goal and an assist was December 2, 2006. But you'd never know it watching him tonight - both his helper and his tally showed an offensive awareness and ability we rarely (if ever) have seen from him. If you had "the fight" as the third of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick that Ersky would be missing at night's end, you win a prize.
Dwayne Roloson played well in the first period, but his embellishment of the contact with Mike Green (that drew an interference minor from the Caps' blueliner) must have angered the hockey gods, especially since Rolie has a reputation for such theatrics.
- In the Caps' net, Jose Theodore stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced through two periods before leaving the game with a lower body injury (for which he's listed as day-to-day). Michal Neuvirth was solid in relief, saving all 11 shots he faced, and even though the tying run wasn't on base, at bat or on-deck, it was a save situation since he pitched the final third of the game.
Alex Semin put on a show in the first period, with two dazzling goals that showcased the kind of high-end skill that puts him in select company (surprisingly, he only took one more shot all night as he attempted to complete the first Caps' hat trick of the season). Per the Caps, it was the 16th time this season a Cap has had a multi-goal period... and 22 teams don't have that many individual player multi-goal games.
- Erskine, Tom Poti, Green and Jeff Schultz combined to go plus-ten on the night with 13 blocked shots. Solid, even if against a seemingly uninspired Isles squad.
Mike Knuble's jam-the-puck-and-the-goalie-into-the-net power-play goal was a thing of ugly beauty, and the eventual game-winner.
- Did Bruce Boudreau really need to skate his top power play unit up 6-2 in the third with ten minutes left (with Green and
on the ice for the full two minutes)?
- With a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera now has eight points in his last nine games. So does Eric Fehr. Not bad for a pair of third-line wingers, eh?
- Lastly, we're all hoping for the very best for Jack Hillen, who was hit in the face with an Ovechkin slapper in the first. Get well soon, kid.
The Caps will have a quick turn around before facing the Ducks at home tomorrow night, which might be just fine for them - my guess is that when you're rolling like this, you want to get right back out there as soon as possible.