After a 3-2 home victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Washington Capitals have matched their franchise’s record for most wins in a row with 10.
Ironically, the Caps’ began and ended their winning streak with Tampa; however, indirectly. How so? Let me explain.
Washington had been playing some pretty decent hockey after a shaky West Coast road trip, where people often questioned about the team’s character and whether the traded Chris Clark was really the glue that kept the team together. The Caps seemed to put all of that behind them though. They went back home to prove those critics wrong by defeating the Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators.
Afterward, the Caps went on a 3-game stretch on the road to play division foes, where they demolished the Thrashers 8-1 in the first game. After the big win, however, the Tampa Bay Lightning cut a 3-game winning streak in a very poorly played match 7-4. Following the difficult loss was a strong comeback effort by Washington to avoid the same fate against the Panthers, winning 5-4 in shootout fashion.
The Capitals only got better as they returned home and played a mixture of opponents: the Maple Leafs, Flyers, Red Wings, Penguins, Coyotes, Islanders, Ducks, Panthers, and to complete the 10th win, a little revenge against the Lightning.
Through the 10-game win streak, the Capitals outscored opponents 47-21, and had 5 games where the final goal-differential was more than 2 goals.
Regarding the franchise implications, the original double-digit winning streak was set in 1984 – the year of the Caps’ first playoff appearance. This 10th win only ties that record. In the next game on the road against the Boston Bruins, the Caps will try to surpass the previous win-streak record with 11 consecutive wins. However, the Caps did already break the franchise’s record for the most wins and points accumulated in one month during the season. This Caps team is also the fastest to reach 80 points in a season.
The team’s whole efforts weren’t the only achievements during the streak. A lot of individual players have done a lot for their own seasons, such as Alex Semin’s 9-game point streak, and Nicklas Backstrom’s career-high goal count.
Nonetheless, the stretch has been so good for the Caps that even Jose Theodore has displayed stellar goaltending. Theodore currently has a 7-game winning streak in the midst of the Caps’ 10-gamer. Although during Theodore’s time in Washington hasn’t been a particularly favored one, he has no complaints from me, at least after his latest performances. His current personal stretch is the longest since his years in Montreal – you know, when he won the Hart Trophy. Fans better enjoy this Jose Theodore because he might be gone by the deadline.
Every year, the Caps seem to add on another reason to show that the current team was better than the previous season’s team. Now ahead in the Eastern Conference by 8 points, the Caps are proving themselves to truly be a formidable force in the East to compete for the Cup.
Come playoff time, the Caps will find out whether they can conquer their playoff woes.
Notes: Mike Green was out in today’s game serving the first game of 3 in a suspension for a high elbow from Friday night’s win over the Florida Panthers. Also, Michael Neuvirth and Karl Alzner have been assigned to the Hershey Bears to play there during the Olympic break. Thus, the Caps have recalled Braden Holtby from Hershey to back up at goalie.