Flaim’s Forum: Is This A Different Washington Capitals Team?
October 27, 2011 10:51 AM
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I’ve caught a lot of heat on the show because I’ve said the Caps undefeated start to the season doesn’t mean anything. Given their recent history of terrific regular seasons followed by playoff disappointment I stand by that. No matter how many regular season games they win it will be all be deemed worthless if they don’t make a deep playoff run. And if they don’t make it to the Eastern Conference finals this season it could mark the end of the Bruce Boudreau era in Washington.
Still, I can’t deny how impressive this start has been for the Washington Capitals. Today their play-by-play announcer for Comcast Sportsnet Joe Benanati said this may well be the best team he’s seen here in Washington. He may be right. This Caps team definitely has seen a huge improvement between the pipes. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun has been a monster in goal allowing just 1.80 goals per game. In his last five games Vokoun has stopped 164 out of 170 shots. That’s absurd.
Beyond the upgrade at goalie, the Caps power play is back to where it belongs, at the top of the league. Last year the Caps fell to 16th in the NHL in power play percentage converting 17.5 % of their power play opportunities. This season Coach Boudreau has moved Alexander Ovechkin around with Mike Green and Dennis Wideman operating from the point and the Caps percentage is up to 29.6 %, currently second in the NHL.
The NHL season is long. We’re not even through 10% of the season. Still, there are signs that this Caps team may be different than the disappointing teams of the last few years. For now I guess we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride.