The Capitals were 5-5-2 for the month of March, 12 points of a possible 24. But it didn't hurt them too much as the New Jersey Devils have stalled since Martin Brodeur became the winningest goaltender in the NHL. The Caps are still a point ahead of the Devils and snug in a second place spot. Catching Boston may not happen as they have opened a 9 point lead in the East.
That leaves April. The Capitals have six games remaining where they finish their home stand against the Islanders tonight, Buffalo and Atlanta. Then they hit the road to finish the season for a final Southeast Division tour of Atlanta, Tampa and Florida. The only playoff team the Caps may face in the final six is Buffalo and/or Florida. They can't overlook these last six games as Carolina could still mathematically overtake the Caps for Division champs.
Some areas that need tweaking for the Capitals would be secondary scoring, which was a strong point through the mid-point through the season. Tomas Fleischmann has suddenly come up dry. Once on pace for a 30 goal season, the Koprivinice, Czechoslovakia native has not scored a single point in the month of March. Eric Fehr has only managed a goal himself in March while veterans Viktor Kozlov, Micheal Nylander and Sergei Fedorov have all had a cool month in the scoring department.
But April is spring, and a chance for renewal. With the playoffs in arms reach, the Caps should see more urgency in their play, more energy in their actions as they finish off their season. They would much rather play the Rangers or Montreal than surging teams like Pittsburgh or Carolina in the first round. The Capitals need to finish strong.
- The Hockey Hall of Fame is considering changing its bylaws to allow female players to be inducted. It will probably will not be an American who would grace the walls of the HOF like Tammy Granato first, but a Canadian woman.
- The Hockey News has come out with their nominees for end of the year hardware. Surprise, surprise Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are finalist for the Hart. Mike Green is a finalist for Norris (best defenseman).
- Waiting list? The Capitals may have to start one for full season tickets as they are nearing their quota. Expect longer lines for pretzals and beer.