Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lucky Eleven

When the good times roll, they really roll for the Capitals these days. Eleven straight wins is an accomplishment that does not come often in the NHL. And in a lot of ways, it does not come with the type of dominance the Capitals have shown in their past eleven games.

Averaging nearly 5 goals a game during their winning stretch they have defeated two Stanley Cup and Conference Champions in Pittsburgh and Detroit. They have taken on divisional foes fighting for playoff spots and four of those games were on the road (including a 6-3 win against the Penguins). But you do not get to this point with out getting some help.

Call it luck, call it fate or good tidings from the hockey gods but the Capitals are lucky to get out of Boston with the historic win. Not one player played a full 60 minutes.

"We didn't play really well, but we found a way to win, because they believed we could win," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When you're on a winning streak, you find ways. Good things happen. When you are losing, you hit crossbars and the other goalie makes incredible saves like Theo did tonight."

Watching the game last night, the Caps should not have won that game. But it took a few good plays at the right time that gave them the win and walk out of Boston with two points. Sluggish play was more in domination than a team with the best offense in the league at TD Banknorth Garden last night.

But like Dan Pollard said this morning on NHL on the Fly, it was like a switch. Even Jose Theodore, who looked at times shaky in net, seemed to turn on the juice at the right time and made stop after stop. He did not have to be perfect. He just needed to give his boys some time. Sure enough, the Caps struck quickly and scored 3 unanswered goals.

From that point on the Bruins struggled to get their offense going, and hometown boy Tom Poti seemed to ratchet up his game getting two assists. "We haven't played as well as we wanted," Poti said to reporters following the game. "But we seem to have picked up at the right moment, and tonight was no different. We came out to play in the third and that ultimately got us the win."

They do not have to be perfect and they can still win. Pretty scary revelation. The concern now however is have the Capitals peaked too soon. There is still the Olympic break in which three of the Capitals most important players Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom will be playing playoff type of hockey. If the Caps come out of the break rusty, it could set the tone going into the remaining schedule and into the post season.

For now it's a nice run, historic as they bested a fifteen year old record with their win. But they can not be complacent. They have to keep this emotion, this edge to their game. Otherwise they risk the entire season and let the Cup slip from their fingers.

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