You wouldn't know it to look at this current incarnation of the Washington Capitals, but it's really not often that a team gets to make history - to do something so special, so impressive that it's never been done in the franchise's 35 year run.
This team is special. It's impressive. And tonight, it's historic. Those 11 wins, by whatever means, should be celebrated.
There were times tonight when that history seemed in doubt. There's a reason why runs like this don't happen every day and why they mean so much when they do happen - because it's not easy to do. And as the Caps traveled to Boston to take on a struggling Bruins team, they faced an uphill battle for the entire 60 minutes. But in the end, as winning teams so often do, they once again found a way to win.
Ten more notes on the game:
- The Caps have pretty well established themselves as a first period team this season, but you wouldn't know it from tonight's opening twenty minutes. At the outset it looked like a team terrified of blowing the streak facing a team desperate to break out of theirs - and it spiraled downhill from there, with a parade to the penalty box and a 5-on-3 tally staking Boston to the early lead in what was one of the Caps' sloppiest periods in a long time.
- And it could have been uglier, were it not for the heroics of #60 in net. Jose Theodore held this team in the game early and absolutely stood on his head to give them a fighting chance, stopping everything he could and should stop - and many that can only be described as thievery. That's two games on the streak that Theo's stolen for the Caps now, and it's not as if he's played poorly in the other ones, either.
- Theodore was one of just a few Caps who showed up for the first period; Tom Poti was right there alongside his goalie, and continues to be one of the steadier, more consistent D in the last 10-15 games. He was good at both ends once again tonight, finishing +4 with some great defensive plays while also adding two more assists
- Since the Caps seemed to have some kind of magnetic pull to the penalty box in the first period, the penalty killing units had to be good - and for the most part they were, allowing just a 5-on-3 and killing off multiple infractions in a row (by one who...shall go unnamed, ahem).
- Good thing, too, because the power play seemed slightly off tonight and failed to capitalize on any of the four chances they were given. Of course, not having any power plays after the halfway point of the second period wasn't helpful.
- By my (admittedly weak) understanding of the rule book, a penalty shot is awarded when a player a) is on a clear breakaway and b) fails to get a decent shot off. Looked to me like David Krejci got a pretty good shot away - matched by an equally good save by Theo - on what turned into a penalty shot. No matter, though; just gave Theo two chances to stone Krejci, that's all.
- With Boyd Gordon's goal, it's official - every Caps' skater that has appeared in at least 8 games during this streak has scored a goal. Take a minute to roll that around in your mind when you go down the roster and see names like "Erskine" and "Morrisonn", won't you?
- But admit it, when Boston pulled Tim Thomas late in the game you were hoping Theodore would take a shot at the open net. You know, just to round out the scoring...no? Just me?
- With the way this team's offense is clicking and the amount of youthful talent to be found on the roster, the hottest player on the team...is a 38 year old offseason pickup with a claw for a hand. Mike Knuble once again gets on the board with the all-important tying goal, the result of several high energy, hard-working shifts to open the second period.
- Relatively quiet night for Alex Ovechkin (unless you count the mild chorus of boos that followed him whenever he touched the puck...it's been done, by the way). He did add to his goal totals with yet another empty net goal, but his best shift probably came about 6 minutes into the third when he responded to Johnny Boychuk knocking him over by going after Boychuk not once, not twice, but three bone-crushing times.