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When Caps Goalies Get Red Hot

With yesterday's 5-4 win over Pittsburgh, Jose Theodore ran his personal win streak to a career-best ten games, including victories in each of his last nine starts. (The first win in the streak came in relief of Michal Neuvirth in Florida.) Theodore also tied Pat Riggin for the longest winning streak in franchise history, a mark set 26 years ago.

Theodore's run isn't even the first nine-start win streak by a Caps goalie in the past two calendar years, though, as Cristobal Huet ended the 2007-08 regular season a perfect 9-0-0. Here's a look at the numbers for each goalie over the course of his streak:

Jose Theodore 9 523 9 0 23 11 2.64 308 285
.925 0

Cristobal Huet 9 552 9 0 14 7 1.52 236 222 .941 1

Huet was an absolute brick wall during his streak. But how much more impressive was he?

Take a look at the shot totals - Huet faced just 25.7 shots-per-sixty-minutes playing behind a team that knew it couldn't afford to lose even a single game and played with the kind of defensive commitment we haven't seen often in the Bruce Boudreau era. Theodore, on the other hand, has been asked to stop 35.3 shots-per-sixty on a team that's playing under different pressures and coasting to victories. Theo has made 40 saves twice during the streak and 30 saves another four times; Huet only had one 30-save effort during his run.

Another point of difference is in team discipline - Huet's Caps were only shorthanded 3.8 times per game during the netminder's win streak, while Theodore has been faced with 5.2 power plays per game during his, four time being tasked with killing off six or more penalty kills in a game, something Huet didn't have to do even once.

Here's one stat that tells you everything you need to know about Theo's run - of the 23 goals he's allowed, only four have come in the third period (Huet, for what it's worth, allowed just two third-period tallies during his streak). Jose Theodore is getting the job done, often bailing his team out and holding the fort down to allow the 18 guys in front of him the chance to do what it does best - score goals (one needs look no further than his constant denial of what would have no doubt been a back-breaking fifth Pittsburgh goal on a lengthy 5-on-3 yesterday afternoon to find a prime example of this).

The bottom line here is that Jose Theodore, like the team, is on a historic run. And while we have a fairly recent barometer by which to measure lights-out goaltending over the course of a streak, don't sell Theodore short on what he's accomplishing these days - like Huet in March and April of '08, this team wouldn't be where it is without its goaltender.