Sunday, November 30, 2008

Caps End Rollercoaster November On Sour Note

Over the past month, we have seen the good, the bad and most definitely the ugly. This rocky road the Caps seem to find them on this season has them stuck trying to figure out if they are really good or not. The Caps started the month of November much how they ended it, underachieving.

The Capitals first game where they failed to score was on November 1st. Buffalo shut 'em down 5-0. Follow that up with a narrow overtime loss to Ottawa, both losses on the road. But a three game home stint was just what the Caps needed to get back on track. They knocked off the 'Canes, Rangers and Lightning in impressive fashion.

Alex Ovechkin broke his scoring drought with a redirect past his pal Olie Kolzig and the Caps seemed to fix what was ailing them. For another two games anyway. The Caps started a long western road trip with a home and home with the Devils. The Caps won their game at the phone booth, but lost to the Devils at the rock.

It looked like the Caps got over what ever kind of funk they were in as they beat Anaheim in their building on the second game of the western swing. But then it didn't go well after that. The Caps dropped the next three games and players dropped like flies due to injuries. They were manhandled in the next three, dropping to Los Angeles, San Jose and Minnesota.

In the process Jeff Schultz broke a finger, Mike Green hurt his shoulder, Tom Poti tweaked his groin and John Erskine got a few cobwebs up in the ol' noggin. Not to mention players like Sergei Fedorov and Alex Semin found themselves watching from the sky boxes nursing ailments.

When the Caps got back into friendlier confines, it seemed that a few call-ups was all the Caps needed to win the next two home games in pretty impressive fashion. They won the next two with a Hershey heavy roster that included call ups Graham Mink, Chris Bourque, Sami Lepisto, Karl Alzner, Tyler Sloan and Bryan Helmer.

The ship had been righted, well for two games at least, until the Capitals were embarrassed in Columbus being shutout 3-0. The Caps started November posting a goose egg, and they finished posting a second goose egg.

During the month of November we saw Tomas Fleischmann continue his pace for a 30 goal season. Ovi's point streak stretched to 10 games. Jose Theodore had a 4-2-1 record and had his frist shut out as a Capital. Nick Backstrom went on a 9 game point streak in which he posted a career high of 5 points against Devils.

What the Capitals need to work on for the month of December is consistency. Let's hope for consistenly good, and not consistenly bad. It seems when the Capitals have something rolling, it can be gone in a blink of an eye. And maybe this shut out in Columbus is a wake up call for the Caps that they have to be ready to play every night, home or away.

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