On the road again…that’s where the Caps find themselves tonight as they visit Philips Arena and the Atlanta Thrashers in one of what will be always a series of critical games against a Southeast Division foe.
After this contest, this trip will continue with a special treat for the boys, as Tarik El-Bashir reports in this morning’s Washington Post:
"The Capitals open a critical Southeast Division swing tonight in
Atlanta, then will be joined by 16 fathers -- and one father-in-law -- for this weekend's games in Sunrise, Fla., and ." Tampa
We thought we’d bring in a few famous fathers to get their take on what this trip might be like for parents and children…
It sounds like a lot of pressure, but Cliff Huxtable, you think it’s all worth it, don’t you? “Rudy…I always miss that one. He’s a handful…” She…
“Oh, absolutely (rolls eyes). We have five kids – Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and…and…
“Rudy…I always miss that one. He’s a handful…”
So Cliff, what’s the secret to raising five kids? “Lots and lots of Jello pudding…”
So Cliff, what’s the secret to raising five kids?
“Lots and lots of Jello pudding…”
Last, we have Homer Simpson, and you’re also from “Uh-huh…” “Uh-huh…” You’re always having to deal with daily problems with Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, aren’t you? “Who?...”
You have three children at home, right?
Your three children…Bart, Lisa, and Maggie…
“I thought there were doughnuts…”
You’re always having to deal with daily problems with Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, aren’t you?
Two losses (one in a shootout) But as for the Thrashers, they are a team of streaks lately. Since alternating wins and losses over a six game stretch from December 27th to January 6th, they’ve had these streaks:
Well, we’re out of doughnuts, but we do have a game tonight, and the Caps find themselves looking up once more at the Carolina Hurricanes as the boys skate against the Thrashers.
But as for the Thrashers, they are a team of streaks lately. Since alternating wins and losses over a six game stretch from December 27th to January 6th, they’ve had these streaks:
Five losses (two in shootouts)
They won their last outing – a 2-1 overtime win against
Goals for/against: 31/41
Power Play: 9/54 (16.7%)
Penalty killing: 50/60 (83.3%)
For a team with offensive firepower of the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa, with a Mark Recchi, Todd White, and Slava Kozlov thrown in, the sustained lack of offense is unsettling…one worries that they are just on the cusp of breaking out. As for Kovalchuk and Hossa, their numbers look very ordinary over the last 15 games:
Kovalchuk: 5-1-6, -9 (12 games)
Hossa: 8-3-11, -6
The 13 goals is respectable, but the 4 assists between them is telling. It is a problem familiar to Caps fans – a lack of supplemental scoring (18 goals in 15 games from players not named “Ilya” or “Marian”). Recchi has one goal (1-9-10, -5), as does White (1-5-6, -3). Kozlov has two (2-5-7, +2).
However, these are players who seem to save some of their best for the Caps over their respective careers:
Hossa: 43 games: 22-26-48, +13
Recchi: 87 games, 46-58-104, +23
Kozlov: 43 games, 13-15-28, +4
White: 16 games, 5-8-13, +10
As dormant as they have been, Caps fans will hope the trend continues, which means the burden falls to Kari Lehtonen to keep pucks out of the net. He’s done his part. In 12 games in this stretch, Lehtonen has an unremarkable win-loss record of 5-4-2, but his GAA is 2.14, and his save percentage is .936 – both fine numbers. He also has a shutout in the mix, that accomplished against
Coach Bruce Boudreau puts it succinctly… "We're playing everybody that we have to beat." That’s it in a nutshell as the Caps head off on a road trip in February that has meaning. And in the game of leap-frog that the Caps and Carolina Hurricanes are playing lately, the Caps will jump the ‘Canes once more…
Caps 3 – Thrashers 2