Thursday, 24 January 2013

Washington Capitals vs Les Habitants

Its been a rough start to the shortened season so far for the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have been outscored 10-5 thus far and the penalty kill is, well, horrendous as they have only killed 7 of 12 penalties on the season so far, albeit, only 2 games in.

Let us not panic, Capitals faithful, as this ship can be turned in the right direction with a much needed win at home.

This must happen tonight because during the last shortened season in '94-'95, any team who had a losing streak of 3 or more games did not make the playoffs.

It all starts with this man right here: Michal Neuvirth.

Braden Holtby is not to blame for the Caps' terrible start, but none the less Michal Neuvirth is getting the nod tonight in net. Let me explain why: in six lifetime starts against Montreal, Neuvirth is 4-1 (which includes a shutout win) with a 1.82 GAA and a .939 save percentage. This is simply a better statistical matchup with Neuvy in net. Also, there may be a lot of going back and forth between Neuvy and Holtby in the next 11 days as the Caps will be playing seven games in that span. Yikes!

Another important key to this game is to cut it out with the unnecessary penalties. This is extremely important since the Caps haven't had much of a PK presence in the first two games. Our PK is running at about 58%...That is a painful stat and is inexcusable!

Another important key is on the opposite end of the PK, the PP. The Caps have had the most lackluster looking power play so far in the first two games. Head Coach Adam Oates was supposed to come in a really fix up the PP woes that have continued from last season under Dale Hunter. Oates' PP in New Jersey ended up 14th at the conclusion of last years regular season and both the Devils and Caps have similar PP talent. My point is, I'm not exactly sure where all that hype came from but in hockey, anything can happen! 

The final key to tonights game is to get Alex Ovechkin going. He's looked terrible in the first two games of the year and he has zero points to boot. If he has a big game (he's been great against Montreal in his career so far, including a four goal game) then the Caps should feel offensively revamped as Ovi is the heart and soul of the Caps scoring. When he scores, our offense as a whole usually performs well.

highlight reel goal from Ovi vs Montreal

If these keys are improved upon tonight in some form, the Capitals will head to New Jersey with 2 points in the standings. If they continue to suffer, Washington will join Philadelphia as the worst team during this lock out shortened season where short losing streaks are more devastating than normal. 

Until Next Time,

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