The Washington Capitals come into tonight's game fresh off a regulation loss, the first time that's happened since mid-January. After a shocking 7-4 loss to Tampa on Jan. 12, the Caps reeled off 14 straight victories before finally losing in overtime on Wednesday night. Then on Thursday a blown call that overturned a Capitals goal helped Ottawa beat Washington 6-5. During the streak, the Caps went to extra time only twice. They scored at least five goals in eight games. They allowed 33 goals in the 14 wins, an average of 2.36 a game. Washington is tied with San Jose for the league lead in points with 89.
Here's to hoping Alex Ovechkin is distracted by the soon to begin Olympic tournament. The Russians are the top threat to Canada for the gold medal. Hey Jeremy the organ guy, play the Olympic theme every chance you get tonight.
It is a treat to see the young captain of the Capitals. He's a speedier, more physical and more European version of Brett Hull. He has a knack to find the quiet areas on the ice where he can get set up in a shooting position. He seems to always be in position to get a dangerous shot off in a split second, one of his best attributes. He enjoys laying the wood in the corner and skating hard. It's no surprise that his in your face style of hockey, balls to the wall intensity and ability to make the unbelievable play have made him the most popular player in the league. Sidney Crosby may be the face of the NHL, but Ovechkin represents its heart.
AO can't do it alone. Alexander Semin Nicklas Backstrom provide dangerous complementary scoring. The Olympic snubbed Mike Green probably should have won the Norris Trophy as top defenseman last season. Much of the rest of the roster is unproven and mostly anonymous. Tom Poti will have a good game every now and then. Mike Knuble and Brooks Laich both have 20 goals or more. With the Caps, the offense never stops. Each shift there's a chance for a scoring opportunity.
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov just came back from injury and allowed six goals to the Senators. He's shared time with Jose Theodore. For the Caps to go far in the playoffs, Varlamov has to grow up quickly in his second postseason or Theodore has to forget he's Theodore. We'll see if either can accomplish that.
Well that's it. Enjoy your last Blues game until early March. We'll miss you.
This is your game day thread, the last until March. Make it count.