Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
You often hear about teams in the middle of long losing streaks not being "as bad" as their recent record indicates. And certainly that's the case with the Washington Capitals who, after finally beating someone (the hapless, helpless Senators), are about to run roughshod over the Eastern Conference.
Remember, this eight-game losing streak of theirs, during which they only picked up two loser points, came as everyone got sick or injured or both, and that led to them scoring just 11 goals in these nine games as they allowed 27.
Say what you want about Washington's defensive play -- and whether Bruce Boudreau should be trying to implement a more sound defensive system when the team's bread has been buttered with offense lo these last three years -- but it's not "3.4 goals a game" bad. And obviously, there's no way that offense is even half as bad as 1.4 a game.
It's one of those everything-that-can-go-wrong-will things. This much bad luck, or whatever you want to call it, had to end at some point, and now this team is in line for a big, big statistical correction. They'd scored on just one of their previous 18 power plays coming into last night. This is a team that, in the two full seasons under Boudreau, has never slipped below 25 percent for the season. And even despite this horrible cold streak, it was still 21 percent. Eighth in the league.
Along those same lines, Ovechkin has two goals in his last 17 games. On 79 shots. Do you think there's a universe in which that guy keeps a shooting percentage of 2.5 going for any more considerable length of time? He's bound to score like seven in four games within the next week or two, just to round out that statistical correction.
But here's how bad that losing streak got: The Capitals actually surrendered their division lead for a day or so. This is almost unheard of in the Southeast, where they've had a stranglehold since Boudreau came aboard. And this team is so good (relative to their competition) that even after losing EIGHT games in a row, they were still comfortably in a playoff spot in the East and technically tied for a home ice spot.
That should give you an idea of just how good this team is, was and will continue to be. That eight-game losing skid literally doubled their season loss total. They'd won 18 of their previous 26. A team doesn't just back into a winning percentage approaching .700.
But perhaps most important is that now, after all the talk and the articles and the HBO documentaries highlighting every grisly detail of this losing streak -- and laying their faults bare for the world to see -- they're going to have a gigantic chip on their shoulder.
A pissed off Washington Capitals is the last thing anyone in the Eastern Conference needs.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres headed to Florida riding a 4-1-1 streak, and they got absolutely pushed around by the Panthers and Lightning, losing by a combined score of 9-3. When you're only pumping one goal past that Tampa defense and goaltending situation, you've got big problems up front.
Calgary Flames: Daymond Langkow's career is probably over. No one knows what's wrong with him, and at 34 years old, you have to wonder how much he'd have left in the tank even if he did come back, like, tomorrow.