The Caps inched ever closer in their quest for the Southeast division lead with their win over the rapidly sinking Toronto Maple Leafs. The question now is--can they keep it up? Their longest win streak in the Dale Hunter era has been three. Now if they win three, lose one, then win three again and so on they might have something. Of course that would be the equivalent of putting on half your clothes, getting out the door, the going back in to finish, going back out only to forget your shoes....well, you get the idea. Not that I've done any of this.
And spare me the bullcrap discussion of how the Southeast division sucks this year. There have been bad divisions all through different sports. It's what you do when you get into the playoffs. I figured we had all learned that by now....
Looking back on this game, I can't remember a thing the Caps didn't do too well, with the possible exception of closing out the first period. The Leafs were close to scoring a LSGOD (Last Second Goal of Doom) and had some sustained pressure towards the end of the period.. But the Caps would get out of it. And as it turned out, that's as close as the Leafs would get to scoring.
Brooks Laich, who is on something of a roll, got opener and game winner on a Leafs power play. He read the play like a cheap novel, picking the pocket of defenseman Jake Gardiner when he tried to make a drop pass. Flipping a wrister over Jonas Gustavsson's outstretched pad, he got his14th of the year, delighting the Verizon Center crowd.
In our "Man Bites Dog" feature....Marcus Johansson missed a wide open net. This is starting to get comical, at least to everyone except MJ90. He looked like he wanted to take his stick to someone's head after that latest miss. He settled for the bench door. Fuel for the fire, Marcus.
Other than that, there was the Matthieu Perreault goal to give them some insurance early in the third. The game was spectacular in being unspectacular. Which is exactly the type of game that the Caps will probably need to stick to if they want to keep on winning.
Something else--and I hate to say it, but the Caps didn't seem to miss a beat with Mike Green out of the lineup yesterday or against Boston. Between that and the outstanding play of both goalies, Coach Hunter has some interesting lineup decisions to make.
So, for the time being anyway, it ain't over, folks. This team hasn't quit yet, though others are certainly getting that impression. On to Long Island and a date in the NHL's worst building.