Caps win 9th straight without key players

March 16, 2011 | Paul Hoke

This is going to be a relatively short blog.  Mostly because, while there is a lot you can say about the Washington Capitals 4-2 win tonight in Montreal’s Bell Center, the bottom line is this….it was their 9th straight win.  In a season where we have wondered when we were going to see “our Caps”, the past nine victories have shown that maybe, just maybe, they were saving the best for last.  And it’s better late then never.

When Mike Knuble, for the second straight game, punched in the game winner 16:53 into the third period, it gave the Caps the 2-goal cushion they needed, to down a heroic effort by Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price, it solidified the Caps as one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference, and, even though the Philadelphia Flyers have 2 games in hand, puts them 1 point behind Philthy for the conference’s top seed.  Now, I could go on about missed opportunities, mostly because of Price, or the fact that yet again, it seemed as though the Caps relied just a little too much on goaltender Braden Holtby, who is turning into a rock star by the way, the one thing I want to point out is that the Caps won in Montreal without a few of their big guns.

Mike Green, of course, has been missing since taking that puck to the head against Pittsburgh, but without Jason Arnott and my son’s personal favorite, after the Great 8 of course, Nicklas Backstrom, the Caps controlled the penalty kill and capitalized on 2 of 4 power play chances, to beat the team that dashed their hopes last year.  My son, Dylan, said it best..”Dad, we owe them.”  God I love that kid.  Known affectionately as “Taz” to his grandfather, who is the inspiration behind my Caps fandom, Dylan now HATES the Canadiens because of what they did to the Caps last season.  I try to explain the history of the NHL and the bis part that the Canadiens have played in that history, but he will hear none of it.  The Caps lost to the Habs last season in the playoffs…end of story.  But tonight, the Caps played a solid game while missing two key components, and lost a third when Eric Fehr left midway through the second period with an undisclosed injury, in a tough venue on the road.

Bottom line, the Capitals earned their 91st and 92nd point of the season to pull within one of the stinkin’ Flyers.  And they did that, without the help of two important players.  Imagine what could be when they are fully staffed come playoff time.  I can’t wait.

GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!