Alexander Ovechkin, José Theodore and their Washington Capitals, on a 14-game winning streak, are at the Bell Centre tonight to take on the Canadiens.
I’ll be at the Habs’ morning skate in Brossard, which begins at 11 am, and will file updates and audio here and on Twitter.
From our old, young friend Ben Raby in Washington, some excellent Capitals notes. Audio of Caps recorded after Tuesday practice is courtesy of Ben, too, provided with our thanks.
Caps come into today game on this little winning-streak they’ve got going… a franchise-best 14 straight and counting.
Caps hot play really dates back to Jan. 5, the last time they played Montreal. Since then, Caps have won 17 of 18.
A lot happened in early January that set the stage for this hot-streak:
Jan. 5: Ovechkin named captain… Caps have gone 17-1 since…
In 18 games as captain, Ovechkin has 16G, 20A and is a +22…
He’s an NHL-best +40 on the season (he was +8 last year).
Am attaching a good clip from Mike Green describing the change in Ovi’s game since he was named captain.
That Jan. 5th game was also the Caps first, after a 3-game losing streak…
Coach Brude Boudreau juggled the forwards lines that night and they’ve remained the same for the last 18 games.
Top-line has been unreal with Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble.
Good clip attached from Brooks Laich describing Backstrom as the quietest superstar in the NHL.
The B-OK line has combined for 33 goals, 36 assists during the Caps 14-game winning streak.
Knuble scores the majority of his goals on the tip of the crease, but it’s been the perfect compliment to Ovi & Back.
Knuble also approached Boudreau a few games into the streak and asked him not to touch the lines, that they had a good thing going (all 4 of them).
The second-line was also created that night when Boudreau shifted LW Tomas Fleischmann to center (a position he hadn’t played since WHL days in Moose Jaw)…
2nd line of Laich-Fleischmann-Semin has also been very strong over the past 18 games.
Seperating Semin from Ovechkin-Backstrom really gives the Caps two powerful top-lines.
Semyon Varlamov is making this trip (all 3 goalies are)… he’s been out with two lower body injuries (groin, knee) since Dec. 7… Caps went 6-6-0 in the first 12 games without him… 17-1 since…
Jose Theodore has been a treat to watch… Not winning games 1-0, 2-1 like he did in the MVP year of ’02, but then again, he doesn’t really need to with this bunch…. Theodore is riding a career-high 10-game winning streak.
Theodore audio here, including one in which he compared this winning streak to his previous career-high of 7 straight wins (Habs, 2002).
14 game winning streak began with 5-4 shootout win in Florida on Jan. 13…
Caps overcame 4-1 deficit that night…. Just as they did in OT win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Comebacks have been big theme of the streak….
They’ve outscored opponents 30-6 in third periods… plus the shootout ‘goal’ and the OT winner on Sunday vs. Pitt.
All 18 ‘everyday’ players have scored at least once during this 14-game streak.
Audio Attached: (in addition to highlight montage of 13-game streak):
Mike Green – on Ovechkin’s play as captain
Alex Ovechkin – on playing in Canada this week.
1. Proud of Caps going to Olympics… Lets Stevie Y know that he’ll pay for his own flight if he wants him.
2. Nicklas Backstrom is the quietest superstar in the NHL.
3. Not worried about Ottawa or St. Louis yet…. Montreal will be tough
4. We’ve got loftier goals than the streak… looking at conference and 1st overall.
5.. On team bouncing back after 3-game losing streak late December and how that losing streak put in motion this stretch of 17 wins in 18 games.
6. On team coming back in 3rd periods….
1. Streak is nice, but we have bigger goals.
2. Played well in return to Denver this year (6-1 win)… going to Montreal tho, no big deal… lots of turnover since 06.
3. 3rd period comebacks, no surprise with all the firepower on Caps
4. More on Caps offense
5. Compared this streak to the one in 2002 with Habs…