We Like Winning Better: Caps Move onto Denver

Ok, there really isn’t anything good we can say about the Capitals-Predators game on Monday. So we have decided to focus on the positive aspects of the Caps, including winning against the Pens and Islanders. Lets hope they learn from their mistakes and come out crashing the net and shooting like nobody’s business in Denver on Thursday.

niskanen hiWe do want to welcome back Matt Niskanen who returned to the ice after missing 13 games with a hand injury. Unfortunately in his 20 minutes of play, he didn’t have too much to show for it except two minutes in the box for holding. You can tell from the following video that he was not feeling great about the game, for a number of reasons:

Looking back, the Caps played well against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Winning against the Pens is always a boost to the team and to the fan base. And there were some great moments that night:

And then we had the shootout win against the Oilers. Now this wasn’t a fabulous game either with Dmitry Orlov scoring the only goal in regulation and TJ Oshie winning it in the shootout with the only puck in the net.

The Caps managed to hold back Connor McDavid to three shots and zero goals, so there was that! Ju Jhar Khair earned his second NHL goal and first of the season against the Caps; his error also opened the door for Orlov to score.

Braden Holtby (and to be fair, Philipp Grubauer) has been doing his darndest to keep the Caps in the game, he often looks alone when the opponents come crashing our net. He had 29 saves against the Oilers,

The Caps are still getting way to many penalties and Tom Wilson is involved in too many fights to actually be helping the team. Don’t get us wrong – we love Tom– we just want to see him play more then we want to see him sit.

We need to see more from Alex Ovechkin but the team can not put so much pressure on him to be the deciding factor in winning or losing. Ovi has 13 goals

Meanwhile, TJ Oshie is second in the league right now with power play goals (six) and he has a total of nine goals in 19 games, leaving us wanting a LOT more from him.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov (17), John Carlson (13) and Nicklas Backstrom (11) lead the team in assists. Odd that Nicky’s numbers are lower but great to see Kuzy and Carly producing so much for the team. Especially good to see Carlson looking more like the player we knew before his injuries and great the he is holding up with all the extra ice time with Nisky out.

With Niskanen back we hope to see the defense for the team step it up more. He is a great leader and encourager. We have some young guys who are finding their groove, especially Madison Bowey. Unfortunately, Christian Djoos left the game with an apparent upper-body injury. We should hear more at practice on Wednesday.

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The bottom line to all this is, we the fans like winning better. Who doesn’t? And we get that the Caps will loose a game here and there. What is disconcerting for us is that they are now 19 games into the season and they still haven’t found the missing identity Coach Trotz often refers to. And for us, that is his responsibility. We can’t help but wonder what is going on between the locker room and the ice. We just hope they rediscover their magic soon. For now, they are in a wild card place in the standings. It is still early friends, but we would fell a bunch better if they moved up a tad bit more in the standings. Are we right?

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