Playing away from home wasn’t a problem for the Caps, who faced three teams before meeting again with the fans in the hometown. Their attack has been more deadly and the defense looks more solid, though it does still need some additional caution. But anyhow, it’s a great improvement compared to the last few months. The team has been able to improve its season stats, with 240 goals. Combined with the 223 goals against, the Caps now hold a +17 goal differential. Though the three victories were against teams which have no playoff contention, the Caps, trying to clinch a playoff berth, have done their part of what is expected by a team with ambitions to win. Only New York still has a chance, mathematically speaking, though its gonna be a tough one for the blueshirts.
In total, the Caps have a four-winning streak including the 4-3 win over Dallas at Capital One Arena.
The first road game was against Detroit in Motown. Brett Connolly was the lone Caps’ representative on the board, winning by 1-0. The (very) positive element was the defense. Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves and recorded a shutout. The defensemen’s solidity helped Grubi to perform a great defesive game for the Caps. With this vitory, the Caps’ got closer to the playoffs and eliminated any contention for the Red Wings.
The second one was a huge victory against Montreal, beating them by 6-4 in Bell Centre. Both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson scored twice. The other two goals were scored by Jay Beagle and Jakub Jerabek, his first one as a Cap. Though the Caps scored six goals, the team allowed four by a team with no playoff contention.
The third and final road game was against a Metro rival, the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Just one period was enough for the Caps to pave the way to the victory, scoring four goals by four different dudes in the first 20 minutes. T.J. Oshie struck first, followed by Matt Niskanen who scored a pretty goal. Niskanen is a defenseman who contributes in many ways in the offensive zone, as his D-pair Dmitry Orlov, although both need to to focus a little more in their main role: defense. Any way, Nisky’s has a +26, leading as the best Caps in that category. Ovechkin capitalized a PP, scoring his 45th goal this season with a blast, getting him closer to another season with 50+ goals. And last but not least, to show some Caps’ defensive improvement, Kuzy scored a shorthanded goal for a team whose special units were giving many reasons for concern. Even suffering two goals, the defensemen Monday night seemed pretty solid, with praises to Brooks Orpik, who played a great game after many have questioned his performance.
The Caps meet again their fans tomorrow, ending the back-to-back with the Rangers in D.C. We are ready for five in a row!!