The time off between now and then is a godsend to Bruce Boudreau and the Caps because it will allow some players time to get healthy and, perhaps more importantly, it will allow the team the chance to continue to work on implementing Gabby's system.
But some things are working well already since the regime change in D.C. Here are a handful of them:
- The power play has gone 6-for-24 (25.0%), which is a better efficiency than every power play in the League on the season, other than Montreal's (of course, throw out that first Carolina game and the 15% efficiency doesn't look so hot).
- The penalty kill has gone 25-for-27 (92.6%), which is a better efficiency than every single penalty kill in the League on the season. In fact, since Boudreau took over, the Caps have allowed two power play goals and scored one shorty.
- The Caps are averaging 35 shots per game, which would be leading the League and are allowing 27.17 shots against per game, which would rank them ninth overall.
- The team is giving up 2.33 goals per game, which would be good for fifth in the League on the season.
- They have seven points in six games - a 95-point pace, which would be good enough for a playoff spot if they had been on that pace all season.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
The Caps have sent Quintin Laing back to Hershey (though I'd imagine he's back for Friday's game if Chris Clark isn't ready to go), Josef Boumedienne has been sent to the IR and Jakub Klepis has sent himself back to Europe (where he'll play in the Euro Hockey Tour Tourney in Moscow - h/t to Vakfan on that link).... Brian Sutherby didn't know why he wasn't playing early in the season. Two words, Suts: David Steckel.... Bruce Garrioch says that "[i]f George McPhee remains as GM of the Caps -- and that's a big if -- there's a chance he could hire London Knights coach Dale Hunter to take over behind the Washington bench." Isn't there a limit on how many qualifiers a reporter can use in a sentence and still maintain a shred of credibility? Oh, wait. Garrioch also notes former Stars GM Doug Armstrong as a potential replacement for GMGM, but it isn't just an idea that Garrioch dreamt up over his morning latte - Doug's is "a name being mentioned." Of course it is. Good stuff, as always, Bruce.
- Hart: Aaron Voros (Game-winning goal, 3 SOG, 2 hits, 1 fight)
- Ross: Sergei Brylin, John Madden, Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll (2 points each)
- Norris: Joni Pitkanen (G, +1, 3 SOG)
- Vezina: Mathieu Garon (25-save shutout win)
- Richard: 11 players tied with 1G apiece
- Calder: Aaron Voros (Game-winning goal, 3 SOG, 2 hits, 1 fight)
- Aiken: J.-S. Giguere (L, 4 goals allowed on 21 shots against)