Monday, February 06, 2012

Sittin' at the end of the bar...

Quite a weekend, the Caps pitched a shutout, then got shut down. And there was a football game that was redemption for one team and a road map for another…

-- Hey, the Caps had more than 30 shots on goal. Been awhile. The last time they did it, the New York Football Giants were 7-6 and had allowed 121 points in their last three games. Things can change.

-- The Caps still have the best home record in the East in terms of standings points earned. But they are now 1-2-0 in their last three home games and have scored a total of six goals in carving out that record. Things had better change.

-- The Caps are 4-4-2 in their last ten games, tied for the 11th best such record in the league… with Montreal. Only Winnipeg, Buffalo, and Ottawa are worse.

-- Nicklas Backstrom has missed 14 games. The Caps are 6-6-2 in those games. They are 4-for-35 on the power play (11.4 percent). They have scored a total of 31 goals (2.21 per game). If those were season ranks, the Caps would rank 30th and 29th, respectively in those categories. There are three words that come to mind… emm-vee-pee.

-- Brooks Laich went down with an injury yesterday. It did not look good when it happened, and it sounded worse after the game. We are trying not to imagine a team that down the middle has Mathieu Perreault, Marcus Johansson, Jeff Halpern, and Keith Aucoin. That group has combined for 22 goals this season. Five centers in the league have at least as many as individuals (Logan Couture, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, Evgeni Malkin, and Steven Stamkos). They are probably fine, upstanding citizens, and in their own way and their own roles decent players, but this is not a center depth chart that will win 15 more games this season out of the 30 remaining, perhaps not even ten.

-- The Caps have 29 power play goals this season. Ten of them are or could be on the bench for a while – Brooks Laich (four), Nicklas Backstrom (three) and Mike Green (three).

-- Did you ever think there would be four Caps with more goals at home at this point in the season than Alex Ovechkin? He has six at Verizon Center – fewer than Alexander Semin (eight), Jason Chimera (nine), Nicklas Backstrom (eleven), and Troy Brouwer (11). He’s tied with Marcus Johansson and Dennis Wideman. Heck, even Mathieu Perreault has five. Ovechkin has only two goals against Southeast Division opponents this season (Tampa Bay and Winnipeg).

-- The Caps have only nine players (out of 27 skaters dressing this season) in “plus” territory. Of that group, one is on IR (Mike Green, +1), two have been mothballed (Jeff Schultz, +1; John Erskine, +3), one is at Hershey (Cody Eakin, +2), and another is on a six-game streak of not getting ten minutes of ice time (Joel Ward, +7).

-- Still, there is this... The New York Giants were 6-6 after 12 games and still got into playoffs with 9-7 record. Last night, they won the Lombardi Trophy as champions of the NFL.

Things change.