Here’s the good news for the Caps: They only have to play one team from the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup playoffs and if that happens, well it was a good year. Also if the Caps do face a team from the West in the playoffs, it will likely be an elite one.
Considering the Caps now “boast” losses to Phoenix, Minnesota, Columbus (twice), Los Angeles (twice), Edmonton and Colorado, this has to be considered a good thing. Also, there are no more home games against Western Conference teams this season — only a trip to Nashville left on the schedule.
Here are some other notes/tidbits from a sluggish night at the Phone Booth:
* Bruce Bouderau’s take sums it up nicely: “We just didn’t have it. We had nothing. We were horrible.”
* The Caps are 23-5-1 here this season. The regulation losses are to Columbus, L.A., Edmonton, Colorado and Florida. They are 11-0-1 against Boston, New Jersey, New York, Philly, Chicago, Detroit and Vancouver.
* The Caps had two power plays in this game, and both were truncated at the start by 4-on-4 time. Bruce Boudreau said the Caps didn’t do anything to force the Avalanche to take penalties, which looked like an accurate assessment.
* Colorado is now 18-0-0 this season and has won 26 straight games in which they led after two periods, so they are pretty good at not letting teams come back.
* The Avalanche were pretty clearly trying to muck it up in the neutral zone, and the Caps were pretty clearly trying to carry the puck through anyway. That pretty clearly didn’t work.
“They had a lot of guys sitting back and we just kept trying to force the issue through the middle,” Eric Fehr said “That’s not what we wanted to do, but that’s what we did most of the game and we couldn’t get pucks deep.”
* Boudreau switched the lines up in the final period, shifting Fehr to the top line, Alexander Semin to the second, David Steckel and Boyd Gordon to the third and Michael Nylander and Matt Bradley to the fourth. The Caps did take 13 shots in the period, but it didn’t seem like the changes had much of an effect.
* There was nearly a scrap at the end of the game. Nicklas Backstrom drilled Wojtek Wolski in open ice. Wolski took offense and went after Backstrom, but Alex Ovechkin swooped in and pulled Wolski away. Backstrom got an interference penalty and Wolski a roughing call.
After the game Backstrom said he thought Wolski had the puck so that’s why he hit him. Backstrom also said he thought this was the Caps’ worst game of the season.