The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!
The Caps are back at it in a Monday tilt against the Boston Bruins…Boston, rich in history and tradition, home of some of the most important events in the young Nation’s history – the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Boston Tea Party. Boston natives were not shy about exporting their feisty nature, either, as was the case in The Battle of Manhattan.
So we have with us a couple of Massachusetts’ favorite sons here to get their take on tonight’s contest…the cousins Adams, John and Samuel. Welcome…
Mr. President, let’s start with you…I don’t imagine they played a lot of hockey in 1776. But you’ve become quite a fan…
JA: “Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear and imagination - everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant.”
Hey, hey…this ain’t NASCAR, pal.
JA: “My apologies…power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.”
Well, back to hockey, what do you think of officiating this year?...do you think it is being performed at a high standard?
JA: “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three is a congress…four is a team of NHL on-ice officials.”
And what of league management, as a former president, I’d be interested in your take on the tenure of the NHL Commissioner…
JA: "I have been quoted as saying, ‘my country has contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.’ Well, then I was introduced to the name, ‘Gary Bettman.’”
You lived through some of the most violent times in the early days of the Republic…I’m guessing you’re a fan of the occasional fight in the NHL?
JA: “Virtue is not always amiable.”
Back to the Caps…Alex Ovechkin finally ended his goal-scoring drought with a marker against the Maple Leafs. A slump?...or is he feeling the pressure of the playoff run?
JA: “No man is entirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life.”
Samuel, does he always talk like that?
“Oh, yeah…why do you think I took up brewing beer?”
As for the Bruins, it’s fashion night at Verizon Center…an opportunity for Alex Ovechkin to model the latest in Chara-wear…a 6’9”, 260 pound stole that Ovechkin will be wearing 20-or-so minutes of this game. Ovechkin is 3-4-7, even, in nine games against the Bruins, but one of the telling stats is shots. Ovechkin has averaged 5.1 shots a game over the 229 games of his career. He has 36 in nine games against Boston, 21 in the five games against Boston in Chara’s two seasons in Beantown. It isn’t a complete shutdown, but his chances have been fewer and of lower quality than his career numbers since Chara joined the Bruins.
While that battle within the battle is taking place, Boston is on an eight-game points-earned streak:
Goals for/against: 27/17
Power play: 9/38 (23.7%)
Penalty killing: 35/38 (92.1%)
Record in one-goal games: 4-0-1
Balance has been a key to the Bruin attack in this eight-game stretch. 19 different skaters have registered points, 13 have goals. The individual leaders in this streak include:
Marc Savard: 1-10-11, even
Marco Sturm: 3-7-10, +3
Zdeno Chara: 6-2-8, +5
Dennis Wideman: 2-4-6, +3
Glen Murray: 4-1-5, -2
Tim Thomas has appeared in goal for seven of these last eight games, going 5-0-1, 2.03, .928. Incredibly, he’s even been better over his career against the Caps: 8-0-1, 1.82, .940. As if this isn’t bad enough, the Caps have one win against the Bruins in the last 11 meetings between the clubs.
Let’s think of this as the law of averages making an appearance – Ovechkin with one goal in his last eight games, Thomas unbeaten in regulation in his career against the Caps, the Caps with one win in 11 games against the Bruins. I mean, c’mon…it can’t go on forever, can it?
We don’t think it will, as you no doubt have concluded if you read this space even occasionally. Plus, this is another of those “games-in-hand” the Caps hold over Carolina. It’s a win they have to have. They’ll get it…
Caps 3 – Bruins 1