Well Caps fans the All Star Game is over. Now, the week ahead means the Caps are in search of six more regular season standings points. This week the Caps face the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Tuesday, on Wednesday they "host" the Penguins here in DC at Verizon Center and then they finish the week on Saturday in Montreal. All in all it should be a tough week and an interesting week - a week of good hockey. For the Caps what they need to do is simple, they need to break a three game losing streak. Lets face it the Caps weren't looking real good the last three games before the break so hopefully the week off has been a time for them to clear their minds, heal, make whatever adjustments they needed to make and be ready to resume the rest of the regular season in a manner that keeps them on track for a 100+ point/40+ROW season.
The Caps can start the rest of the season off right with a win on Tuesday in Columbus, it won't be an easy two points though as Columbus hasn't been a easy game for the Caps this season two of the first three games have gone to OT sow while the Caps are 2-0-1 in those games each of the games have required the Caps to play a full 60:00+ at 100+% to get the five points they've captured. The good news for the Caps on Tuesday is that the man who forced those last two games to OT - Sergei Bobrovsky will likely still be out and not in net for the Blue Jackets, the bad news - all the rest of the Columbus team will be eager to show the hockey world they can still win and compete for a playoff spot.
Then on Wednesday evening the Caps host the Penguins and a presumably well rested Sidney Crosby at Verizon Center. The Penguins will be looking to "repay" the Caps for the 3-0 loss the Caps handed them a couple of weeks ago on December 27th at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. While it would be nice if Braden Holtby could come up with another shutout, it would be even nicer if the Caps played so well it was easier for he and they to come up with another wire to wire three goal victory. But again it won't be an easy two points - to win the Caps entire team will have to play a 60:00, 200 foot, 110% game.
Then on Saturday afternoon, the Caps play a matinee in Montreal where they get to play Carey Price and surging Canadiens team. The Habs are on pace for a 111 point/44 ROW Season and were 7-2-1 in their last 10 games before the ASG break. Additionally the Caps fell to the Canadiens 2-1 in their one other meeting this regular season way back on October 9th when the Haps came to Verizon Center. So again this game will require the Caps to play solid, "heavy" hockey through all 60:00 if they are to come away from Bell Center with any points.
If the Caps can turn the three game pre-ASG losing streak around and come away from these last three games of the month of January with at least three of the six available points, with a 7-4-2 record and 16 of the available 26 points (0.615) for the month. They will also finish the month with a total of 60 points and 24 ROW in 49 GP - on track for a 100 point/40ROW season. I believe it may actually take that be sure to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this season the way things are going as right now 7 of the 8 teams in playoff positions are on track for 100 point seasons and number 8 - the Bruins are close behind on pace for a 97+ point season. Additionally of the 8 Eastern Conference teams in playoff spots today 7 of the 8 have player 0.700+ hockey in their last 10 games before the ASG break; only the Penguins are under 0.700 and it doesn't seem likely they'll stay on their current 4-3-3 (0.550) - last 10 games - pace for long.
Well that's the week ahead for us Caps fans ... all I can say is ...