Saturday, March 6, 2010

Caps Best Rangers 2 - 0; Theodore Gets First His Shutout of Season

It was a two point night for the Capitals, in fact tonight they earned their 95th and 96th point of this regular season. That's two more points than they totalled the entire 2007 - 2008 season when they won the Southeast Division with a total of 94 points; last season of course the Caps finished the regular season with 108 points, we'll come back to that later. In 2005-2006 and 2006 - 2007 the Caps totaled 70 points each season, for the entire 82 game season, aside form last season, the last time the Capitals were on anywhere near this pace or this good was a decade ago the 1999 - 2000 season which they finished with 102 points. As of tonight they have 96 points, lead the Eastern Conference and currently lead the NHL having captured 73.84% of the standings point they have competed for this season and they are on pace to capture 120+ points at this juncture. To put into perspective just how good this team is playing, the last team to capture 120 or more points was the 2005-2006 Detroit Red Wings with 124 and they are the only team to have done so since the lockout. Prior to the lockout, and the implementation of 3 point games only 10 teams, in the post expansion era have achieved anything like the Capitals success so far this season:

1) the 1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens with 132 points in 80 games,
2) the 1995-1996 Red Wings with 131 points in 82 games,
3) the 1977-1978 Montreal Canadiens with 129 points in 80 games,
4) the 1975-1976 Montreal Canadiesns with 127 points in 80 games,
5) the 1970 - 1971 Boston Bruins with 121 points in 78 games,
6) the 1972 - 1973 Montreal Canadiens with 120 points in 78 games,
7) the 1971 - 1972 Boston Bruins with 119 points in 78 games,
8) the 1985-1986 Edmonton Oilers with 119 points during an 80 game season,
9) the 1983-1984 Edmonton Oilers also with 119 points in an 80 game season,
10) the 1981-1982 New York Islanders with 118 points in an 80 game season.

Further if you look closer at the rosters of the teams that played and won those games you'll see rosters filled with depth and great names, many names who are in the Hockey Hall of Fame today. Caps fans, if you're not having fun watching games this season, you likely never will have fun at a hockey game.

Now about tonight, Jose Theodore - first star of the game and deservedly so, stopping 30 of 30 for his first shutout of the year, his third as a Washington Capital and the 29th of his career. Including tonight's game Theo is 22-7-6 with 1 shutout, a GAA of 2.79 and a Save Percentage of 0.910 in 37 appearances so far this season. Further in his last three games Theo is 2-0-1 and has better than a 1.90 GAA and better than 0.933 SV%. It would be great to see Theodore continue this level of performance until June, it would be a career year for him and it would mean a great year for the Capitals as well. Theodore played superbly the entire game tonight. Eric Fehr scored his 17th goal of the season on the power play in the first period and it was the game winner, although no one expected it to be at the time. Fehr scored by going hard to the net and roofing a nice pass from Tomas Fleischmann past Ranger backup goaltender Alex Auld. The third star of the game went to "new guy" Eric Belanger. For most of the game Belanger skated as the pivot between Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin and tonight he and his linemates looked very good the entire game. Belanger scored the "insurance goal" at even strength at the 13:38 mark of the second period assisted by both Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin.

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