The last five days have been quite eventful for the Washington Capitals. On Monday, the Caps acquired two veterans at the trade deadline (as well as another on waivers Saturday) to energize a sluggish team. One day later, Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott made their respective debuts in a come-from-behind 2-1 overtime victory over the New York Islanders. With the St. Louis Blues in town, the Caps didn’t want to be brought down (no pun intended). Arnott, who has a penchant for late-game heroics, worked his magic yet again with just over five minutes left to give the Caps a 3-2 win over the Blues. He’s the “Jug-Arnott,” b*tch!
- The Caps won their NHL-leading 18th game of the season when allowing the first goal of the game, but this team has a tendency to play in spurts. Tuesday, it was the first 10 minutes, the final minute of regulation and overtime. Thursday, it was the second period, when Scott Hannan and Nicklas Backstrom scored less than four minutes apart to tie the game at 1-1 and 2-2, respectively. The comebacks are fun, but always playing from behind can take a toll on a team. The Caps should do their best to find that elusive “60-minute game.”
- Michal Neuvirth has been almost single-handedly kept the Caps in games for a few weeks now. After giving up the first goal to Alexander Steen (or as Wes johnson called him, “Alexander Sheen,” Neuvirth made three more saves in the first and 12 more in the second to keep the Caps within striking distance. Washington needs to give Neuvirth (or any of the goalies for that matter) the hockey version of run support.
- Arnott’s goal was his first as a Cap, but he wasn’t the only one who celebrated a first. Hannan scored both his first goal of the season and his first goal since being acquired November 30 on a gorgeous wrist shot. Hannan said after the game that scoring goals is not his forte, but he’s been arguably the best defenseman on the team in recent games. Hannan is a plus-4 with one goal, 13 blocked shots and four hits in just under 23 minutes of ice time over his last three games. Besides the new guys, Hannan’s veteran presence is also invaluable for a young blueline.
- The Caps broke their Semin-like streak Thursday, winning back-to-back games at home since November 26-28. “Nothing But A Good Time” two games in a row? We can deal.
With a three-game winning streak for the first time since December 26-January 1, the Caps head to Florida to soak up the sun with their fathers and play two big games against the Panthers and Lightning. Washington’s win, coupled with Tampa Bay’s loss to the Boston Bruins, cuts the Southeast Division lead to one point. Perhaps the Caps, like fine wine, have gotten better with age?