Monday, December 28, 2009

Spreading The Christmas Cheer

The Washington Capitals have been generous in the month of December. It's proving that it is better to give than receive. Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin have more assists than goals this month. A stat that seems to be gaining in popularity among the entire team. In fact only three Caps have more goals than assists and one player evened out.

Ovi, so far, has 7 goals and 10 assists during his short stint playing in the month of December. Compared to a year ago, Ovechkin was raking in the goals with 12 tallies and only 7 assists. It marks a turning point for the Capitals in more ways than one. They are not just relying on the star players to get the job done. Although the top line of Semin, Nick Backstrom and Ovi do account for 21 goals and 29 assists this month alone.

In fact, Backstrom has more points than Semin and Ovechkin with nine goals and nine assists. Never has Backstrom scored more goals than Ovechkin in a month (even if Ovi missed games due to injury).

Only three players have scored more goals than assists thus far in December (which has two more games to go). Tomas Fleischmann (7 goals, 4 assists), Matt Bradley (3 goals, one assist) and David Steckel (2 goals, one assist). The puck is definitely being passed around a bit more and secondary scoring seems to be hitting it's mark more and more. A good sign the team is playing better and will be tougher to beat down the road.

A sign of a championship team would be every line is a threat to score and tough to score against. The Caps are slowly making that happen. While lines 3 and 4 could produce more, the fact that the Caps are starting to get production outside of the top line is a promising sign.

Caps Notes:
  • The Caps face Carolina tonight and try to go 9-0 against the Southeast Division. The Caps are the only team in the NHL to be undefeated facing their divisional foes.
  • Backstrom’s three points Saturday night give him 202 points in 202 career games. He is one of only 10 NHLers with at least 100 games played to boast a point-per-game average in his career (Alex Ovechkin is another). Backstrom reached 200 career points before anyone else in his draft class (2006) had 150. -- Per Washington Caps PR.
  • Michal Neuvirth is off to a fast start, relatively speaking. In the last three games he has started and won he has posted impressive save percentages (.929 vs. EDM, .941 vs. BUF, and .967 vs. NJD). His numbers should make the Caps' management pretty happy, since they now have solid depth within the goaltending ranks.

No comments: