The Washington Capitals certainly don't love L.A., or the Randy Newman song that played Monday night whenever the Kings scored a goal. What's obvious at almost the midway point of the season is that they don't love playing on the road at all.
Four victories in a row, and the Washington Capitals were rolling. It was their first winning streak of more than two since October and by far the hottest stretch under coach Dale Hunter.
History might not matter to these Washington Capitals: 18 years without a victory in San Jose.
Nicklas Backstrom spent two days downplaying concerns about whatever kind of head injury he suffered Tuesday night resulting from Rene Bourque's right elbow. He repeatedly said he's feeling "pretty good" and that he'd be available for the Washington Capitals on Saturday night at the San Jose Sharks.
A day after the NHL announced that realignment would be scrapped for the 2012-13 season, the Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks brushed off the importance of the issue, though many did broach concerns that held up the NHL Players' Association's lack of consent.
It didn't matter that Nicklas Backstrom was all smiles and talked about feeling "pretty good" after Thursday's practice. Head injuries are mysteries and symptoms can come and go.
Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson never got to enjoy a gold-medal celebration at the world junior championships. In two appearances, including one in which he served as captain of Sweden, he won silver and bronze.
The Capitals listed Nicklas Backstrom as day-to-day after he took an elbow to the head against Calgary on Tuesday, but were not calling his injury a concussion just yet.
Nicklas Backstrom's value to the Washington Capitals is impossible to quantify. As New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer pointed out, in a comparison to Reggie Jackson, Backstrom is "the straw that stirs the drink there for that team on a lot of nights."