The Capitals enjoyed their longest game winning streak and suffered through their longest game losing drought of the season all in the same month. The Caps now are looking for something they have certainly lacked so far, consistency. The winning kind of consistency anyway.
Road games have been the Achilles heel for the Capitals who are a humble 4-8-2 wearing their white jerseys. Head coach Bruce Boudreau also put that road record in a little bit of perspective. "I think, quite frankly, we are going to be a really good road team," Boudreau responded to a question about the team's road record. "If you [would] look at our road record, we battled back to .500. And then we had those three games out west, which is a really brutal trip. And we didn't have a lot of time to recover."
"You get frustrated because you want to win every game," Boudreau went on to say at the practice today in Kettler. "Every game we lose, you are going to see a frustrated coach." The Caps won twenty road games last year, Boudreau responded, "We will win 20 plus this year. It's just a question of when they fall."
Part of the Capitals woes stem from a depleted bench. Nine players at one point have missed ice time because of injury. And they are all performer players. When asked about the injury situation, veteran Sergei Fedorov has never seen this many top guys out of the line up. "[In Detroit] we had seven guys out of the line up," Fedorov recalled, nursing an ankle sprain himself, "but never nine."
Brian Potheir (noggin cobwebs), Mike Green (shoulder), Jeff Schultz (broken digit), Tom Poti (tweaked groin), John Erskine (noggin cobwebs), Alex Semin (shoulder) and Sergei Fedorov (ankle) are all out against Florida. Boyd Gordon (back spasms) is questionable. Karl Alzner who left in the third against Columbus is fine and will play.
The frustration level for those injured players is starting to reach a peak. "Yeah, I am going crazy," Fedorov said after his skate. "I feel really, really good physically and I am trying to push as hard as I can on the ice... but you need to be patient."
The Caps thankfully have a home game, blacked out as it maybe, to sort of get off on the right foot against Florida tomorrow night. At home, the team is a nearly perfect team at 9-0-1, making the phone booth a very uncomfortable place to be for visiting teams. They will have to build off of their success at home and translate it on the road.
The last time the Panthers were at the Verizon Center, the Capitals clinched the Southeast Division and propelled themselves into the playoffs for the first time in 5 years.