The Washington Capitals snagged a huge two points last night from the Canucks. One can argue that both the Capitals and the Canucks are rapidly declining in their play. Both teams we’re in a prime playoff position before the calendar swap, now each team is fighting to get back into the hunt. Five interesting thoughts came to mind while watching the game.
1.) Is Evgeny Kuznestov the savoir?
This is an interesting topic, all Caps fans believe Kuzy is going to get this team back on track. Kuzy is a fantastic player, his potential his unfathomable. Kuzy will absoutely be a huge star in Washington. His hockey sense reminds me of Backstrom and Ovechkins. He can score, but he can also make play’s and get helpers. Last night Kuzy was put on the power play. Kuzy, who was in Backstrom’s usual spot, sent the puck to the point for John Carlson, Carlson then sent it to Ovechkin who ripped it past Eddie Lack. Kuzy got his first NHL point from an Ovi goal, how fitting.
But Kuzy wasn’t done helping. Probably his best assist of the night came when Tom Wilson scored his goal. Kuzy made a slapshot past to fool Eddie Lack long enough to let Tom Wilson bury the puck. Evgeny Kuznetsov is good, really good. This team won’t be fixed by just one player. Hockey is a team effort, probably the most team oriented sport out there. Kuzy will only help the Capitals in a good way, but the team still has a lot of work to make the playoffs.
2.) Eh, was that a good win?
No, it wasn’t. The Capitals escaped with a win against a slumping Canucks team. Was it the prettiest? No, not in the slightest. But did the Capitals get a win? Yes, and it was a huge two points. The Capitals entered the third period with a 3-1 lead over the Canucks. Some hockey experts believe this is the “worst lead in the NHL”, (If you don’t know why it’s because being up by two can sometimes result in players slacking off a bit, but in a blink of an eye the oppenete can get right back into the game) Well, the Capitals continued to prove those Hockey experts right. The Capitals blew their 12th two goal lead this season. Two early goals by the Canucks got them right back into the game with the momentum. The Capitals need to find a way to play a full 60 minuets. It seems as if they haven’t done that once this season. It wasn’t the best win, but it was a win. In fact it was a win that could potentially spark a win streak. Kuzy recorded his first NHL point, there was secondary scoring, and the special teams played well all game.
3.) What’s going on with our defense?
This area of the Capitals game could of be revamped during the trade deadline. But it wasn’t. The Capitals allowed 41 SOG during the game, that’s a lot. There were multiple times that the defense was out of position too. For example an early 2-on-2 broke out for the Canucks, Connor Carrick and Dimitri Orlov were the D-men out on the ice at the time. Carrick made a horrible move and checked himself out of the play, which resulted in a 2-on-1. Luckily Orlov’s fantastic defensive skill derailed the scoring chance. The D parings last night were:
The pairings should have a young player, and a more talented older player together. Maybe Alzner-Green, Orlov-Carlson, and Hillen-Carrick. I feel as if Connor and Dimitri shouldn’t be on paired together. The defense must get better if the Capitals want to make it to the post season.
4.) Is Halak good or bad?
You just can’t tell can you? Jaroslav Halak was acquired by the Washington Capitals from the Buffalo Sabres during trade deadline. Halak’s first start was against the Phoenix Coyotes where he only allowed two goals. After seeing that game I believed that maybe he could be the goaltender the Capitals need. But then the Penguins game happened. Halak allowed two goals on three shots, thats horrible. Halak didn’t play a good game at all against the Penguins. But Halak reminds me of Holtby. They’re style of play is almost identical. Halak and Holtby will both allow a soft goal that they should of had. Both then, they both stop multiple stuff attempts and occasionally make beautiful saves throughout the game. Halak played well last night, he posted a .927 SV% on 41 shots. I think Holtby will be able to learn a lot as the backup for the time being.
The Capitals MUST improve this part of the game immediately.The Caps faceoff % in last six games loos like this: Overall: 39.9% Offensive Zone: 44.7% Defense Zone: 41.6% Neutral Zone: 33.3%. Like our defense, that’s bad. The Capitals need to get this fixed. What baffles me the most is what happened to Backstrom’s %? Backstrom told Adam Vingan “I’ve been struggling the last couple games in the faceoff circle, You want to be better at it because it helps get puck possession right away.” Backstrom is 40% in the last six games.