Cap Tip (10/23/2018)
The Big Picture
The Caps are off to a very uneven start to the 2018-2019 NHL season. They currently sit just above a four way tie in 2nd place with ten points in the log jammed metropolitan division. After eight games the team has a record of 4-2-2, and 1-2-0 in division. Some trends are already coming to the forefront, this team can score like few others in the league. They currently average just over 4 goals a game despite an outlier shutout against the New Jersey Devils. Unfortunately, this team does have a losing record which must mean that the defense and goaltending are struggling, and they are. The Caps are currently averaging 4 goals against per game, good for second worst in the division behind the porous Flyers. Hopefully the Caps defense and goaltending can come together soon or else the Championship season tour could end outside looking in.
The Last Week
W VS NYR 4-3 (10/17)
The Caps really needed this one, they had just dropped two straight in regulation including a division loss (massacre) to the NJ Devils. The rebuilding Rangers should have been an easy task for the Caps, but they weren’t. In yet another offense shootout the Caps were forced into overtime by Chris Kreider on a tip in. Thankfully Matt Niskanen came to the rescue with a rebound score to give the Caps a win in OT.
This was one of those games that almost gives you more to worry about than like. The Capitals were playing one of the worst teams in the league and needed OT because, once again, the defense failed them. The Caps allowed 32 shots on goal over the course of the game, which is by nearly every metric way too many. Nevertheless, there were good things in this one.
The stars had a day as Ovi notched a couple scores alongside John Carlson, and the aforementioned Matt Niskanen goal. On the assist front Backstrom had a couple along with Kuzy and Oshie. Brett Connolly also dolled one out, but the player of the game in this one is John Carlson as he added two assists in addition to his goal.
SOL VS FL 5-6 (10/19)
This was another game the Caps absolutely should have won. The Florida Panthers came into this game WINLESS. At 0-2-2 they were sitting at the bottom of more than a few power rankings across the league. Unfortunately the Panthers now have a win on the resume and it came in DC.
The first period ended in a truly epic collapse for the Caps. The Panthers put the puck in the net three times in the final four minutes of the first period. With the score at 4-1, the Caps would come all the way back, forcing an eventual tie on a goal by Nicklas Backstrom with just 1:25 left in the game. After no scores in OT and Panthers would win 3-2 in the shootout.
The bad in this game was glaring, Braden Holtby was just awful in the first period, although Pheonix Copley played okay in relief, it’s clear at this point that Braden has reverted to his regular season form from last season. Hopefully the coaching staff can work with him to fix him up because Pheonix Copley is not Philipp Grubauer and Holtby is not the 6th highest paid goalie in the league to let in six goals against the Panthers. The good in this game was the bottom six forwards for the Caps as four of the five goals came from the bottom six.
W VS VAN 5-2 (10/22)
The Caps western Canada road trip started off about as well as it could have. Washington spanked the rebuilding (though surprisingly good so far) Vancouver Canucks. This was the Capitals most complete game played since the first match of the season against the Boston Bruins. With only 24 shots on goal, this was the least shots allowed so far this season and a complete reversal from the horrid defensive performance in the last game.
This was another game where the stars came out to play. Once again Ovi led the charge with two goals and two assists. John Carlson wasn’t far behind featuring a goal and a pair of assists to match. Although we can’t forget about TJ Oshie who added a goal and assist of his own, the night belongs to Backy as he became the 87th player to tally 600 assists. He truly remains the most underrated player in the NHL.