Monday, February 15, 2016

Caps play against the West

How do the Caps play against the West? They struggle against the number one team, Dallas Stars, as evidenced by the four unanswered goals scored against them on Saturday. The Caps mustered another third period comeback with three goals, but it was too little too late for the win. They have not beaten that team since October 25, 2008. The Caps record is 3-13-0 in Dallas. That is not good if the stars align, the Caps stay healthy, they keep their mojo, and they make it to the Stanley Cup finals and those finals go through Dallas. A lot has to be true for that to happen, but it is an unpleasant scenario even for the team that made history by being the fastest ever to win 40 games.

The Caps beat the Chicago Blackhawks in their early season meeting, 4-1. If they played today, it would be the number one goal scorer with 35, Alex Ovechkin, against the number two, Patrick Kane, with 33. It would be a tougher game because the intensity of the games rises as the playoffs get closer. They lost to the San Jose Sharks, in 6th place today, by 1 goal also in October.

Caps have not played the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, or Anaheim Ducks yet and those are the 3rd through 5th place teams in the West. The Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators are 7th and 8th. Caps beat the Avalanche 7–3 and beat the Predators 5–3 although they let them back into that game.

Caps games against the West are always close, but it is clear that Dallas is the scariest team for the Caps to face in the playoffs if they survive the first three rounds. There is way too much hockey left to play before they get there, if they get there. It is still not fun to contemplate. The NHL is super competitive.

The discussion of what the Caps need before the trade deadline dominates the local hockey media. Depth and the fact that Brooks Orpik did not play on the road trip, as anticipated, are the biggest concerns, but the Caps do not need anything. They have a lot of talent and when they are focused. And playing the game the right way, they are hard to beat.

Is it April yet?

Let’s go Caps!

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