Hits are the most arbitrary stat in hockey. What’s a hit in one building might not be in another.
That said, the Capitals having five hits in last week’s loss to the Jets in Winnipeg was pretty indicative of how they played. Defenseman Karl Alzner said that night that the Caps were “soft.”
“You’re not going to win a lot of hockey games with five hits,” coach Bruce Boudreau said Wednesday.
By the numbers, the Caps had 35 hits in their 4-3 overtime win against the Jets at Verizon Center. That was in line with what they wanted.
“We wanted to get into that 30-hit parade,” Boudreau said. “We thought when we’re engaged and we get 30 hits, we’ve got a big team, then we’re doing well.”
The exact number, of course, can be debated. But there’s no debating this was a physical game that featured plenty of big hits on either side. Dmitry Orlov had one of the most memorable, executing a textbook hip check on Blake Wheeler in the second period. Cody Eakin got lit up in open ice by Winnipeg’s Zach Bogosian, too.
“Yeah, it was nice,” forward Jason Chimera said. “We kind of got embarrassed in Winnipeg and we wanted to come back and play better against them.”
Embarrassed or embarrassing was a word used a lot going into this game. So has the idea of being more physical.
“We’ve been talking about it a lot – finishing checks and stuff like that,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “I think we did a good job tonight.”
These aren’t the Atlanta Thrashers anymore, but the Caps haven’t forgotten the success this franchise has had against them recently.
“A rivalry from the past few years that a lot of guys remember. But that’s part of our game,” defenseman Jeff Schultz said. “We need to use we have a big team, and the more we can lay the body and tire these guys out, the better we are off.”