After losing 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals have lost two in a row! They've gone four games without scoring four goals.
Alex Ovechkin hasn't scored in games and games.
Columbus and the Penguins have moved to within three points of the division lead.
So now the coach is breaking up the set-in-stone line combos and....
It's outright panic!!
Or maybe not. The Captials are the best team in the NHL. They have been a 100% lock to make the Playoffs for over a month now. The NHL season is a grind. Who cares?
Fact is, there is no drama here. The Capitals have actually been the best team in the NHL for about 150 straight games now and that is quite the feat. While only like five math nerds will care, that's something that is probably way harder to do than win a Stanley Cup.
The thing is, people are right not to care. We've set the Cup as the standard of excellence and this isn't golf, so go win a Trophy of ______.
The Capitals will face extreme pressure to perform in the Playoffs and deservedly so. This is why you can't blame them for taking it a bit easy. Ovechkin hasn't gotten worse, I bet he just doesn't care about scoring another 50 goals and then going home to Russia in time for Easter.
Now, maybe I'm just seeing what I want to, but it seems to me that the Capitals are now an experienced team who know the season is a grind and that then need to save a little for April and May.
The thing is, the facts sort of back up this theory, check these mind-blowing numbers from a Washington Post story by Issabelle Khurshudyan:
[size]The Capitals were 17-2-1 going into the bye week, averaging 4.65 goals per game during that stretch. The biggest difference in the team’s play since is the decline in offense. Washington has been held to fewer than four goals in eight of the past 10 games.
It's almost as if they came up with a plan to dominate leading up to the break and then relax afterwards. Clearly there's a danger that they won't be able to turn it back on, but I doubt it.
I think the Capitals are far and away the class of the NHL and I pity Wild Card team that has to face them in the first round. Unless it's Tampa with a fresh Steve Stamkos. Then things could get interesting, since, arguably, the Lightning should be the best team in the Atlantic.
Tonight the Caps who don't need to win will face the Kings, who do. Should be a good game.[/size]