Not to jinx them (everybody knock on wood), but the Caps are finally on a roll. Holtby has started the last 11 games in a row, the longest streak since 2003 when Olie the Goalie played 16 straight. The Caps are 8-3 in the past 11 games, including 3 games with shut outs. In their first 11 games, the Caps were 2-8-1. After such a successful season last year, the big question this year was “WHY?” Why were they so bad? Why couldn’t they win? Why did Coach Adam Oates pull Neuvirth after the Penguins had only scored 2 goals?
There is no one simple answer. Perhaps it was because only a handful of Caps played professionally in other leagues during the lockout. Maybe it was because they had no preseason time to “gel” (I really don’t like that phrase) as a team. Or perhaps it was the new aggressively offensive scheme Oates implemented: a stark contrast from the defensive minded coaching of Dale Hunter last season.
But now the answer to that “why?” is “who gives a damn?” Things are falling into place. In those past 8 wins, the Caps have scored at least 3 goals in each game and in four of those wins the Caps scored at least 5 or more goals. They are playing as a team, they are playing smart, and they are no longer snake-bit. The puck is going in the net on those shots they were previously missing.
I was lucky enough to attend the Carolina game on February 26th, (one of Holtby’s shut out games!) and the atmosphere was crazy. The fans were loud, the players were pumped, the “boo’s” and “whoop-whoops” every time Semin touched the puck (and missed a shot) were fantastic, and the standing ovation for Holtby was incredible. Plus, this is the view from where my boyfriend and I sat.
There is not a bad seat in the Verizon Center, but this was beyond amazing.
So. The Caps are winning and I’ve politely begged the hockey gods not to jinx them because I wrote this positive article. The Caps are now 6 points behind the Southeast Division Leaders (the Hurricanes) and the Caps have played one less game. If they continue this style of play, it’s more than possible to get to the top.
**Erskine’s new nickname is “Weapons,” due to a text I got from a good friend when her iPhone auto-corrected Erskine to “Weapons” which is freaking awesome. I must inform Walton, Locker, and Joe B.
The Caps are undefeated at the games I have attended this season and I’ll be at the Phone Booth on Sunday when the Caps crush the Rangers. And make Tortorella cry. And then I get to skate on the ice after the game. Boosted. I will sneak into the locker room and make players (re: Hendricks) come skate with me. And Brouwer too, so we can do the Gangnam Style dance on the ice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7JJRed3QrQ
Keep on Rocking the Red and keep on hating the Penguins.