Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Pencils Down, Times Up

Capitals 4, Lightning 1

Caps end the season on a hot streak. Not only did the Caps win 4 of the last 5 of their games of the season, they did it in convincing fashion against divisional rivals. Wins against one team in the playoffs, one team trying to make the playoffs and one team that have give the Caps fits all season.

Overall Grade: B+

Wash Post will have a better view of the season ender, and why Olie Kolzig was a no show in Tampa Bay. Brent Johnson was absolutely fantastic in this game stopping 42 shots on net.

How did the Capitals end up?

The Caps finish with a 29-41-12 record and 70 points. They finish last in the Southeast Division, and 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Caps were only 5 points behind Florida but 12 points ahead of the Conference worst Pittsburgh Penguins.

Four players finished with 20 goals or more, Alex Ovechkin (52), Dainius Zubrus (23), Chris Clark (20) and Matt Pettinger (20). Four players finished with 40 points or more, Ovechkin (106), Zubrus (57), Jeff Halpern (44) and Brian Willsie (41).

The Capitals were ranked 7 in the shoot-out with seven wins and six loses. With 230 goals for the Caps were ranked 23rd in the league, but were 29th in goals against with 300 slipping past the Caps goalies. Overall, the Capitals finished 27th in the league ahead of Chicago, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

As much as the Caps did not have a story book season, their future is something that going to be exciting to watch. The bright spot for the Caps this season is Alex Ovechkin whose size, speed, and offensive explosiveness made the Caps exciting to watch this season.

What the Caps must do is accent that talent from Ovechkin. Some key off season pick-ups for the Caps must include a more dependable defensive core. A nice free agent signing may be Hal Gill from Boston who becomes unrestrictive free agent this summer. A good stay at home defensemen that may help out in front of Kolzig.

A player to lose this off season is Ivan Majesky. Even though his size is intimidating, his lacks speed and can be out of position at the wrong time.

The key to this off season will be what management can do to improve the team to give them a fighting chance for seasons to come.

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