The Washington Times - December 26, 2009, 11:11PM

There are three teams that lead their divisions in the Eastern Conference. The Caps are one of them, and they’ve beaten each of the other two by three goals in the past 72 hours or so.

Mike Knuble did point out that playing these games at home is an even bigger advantage around the holidays, but both games remain pretty strong statements by the boys from Washington.


Here’s some other notes and quotes from an interesting night at the Phone Booth:

* Nicklas Backstrom has 11 goals in 12 games. He also has as many goals this season as New Jersey’s Zach Parise. There are only 11 players in the league with 200 points since the start of Backstrom’s career.

* Alex Ovechkin is now 2 goals and 5 points from the outright lead in both categories. He’s averaging nearly two points per game since coming back from the suspension.

“They’re all elite players,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said of his top line. “They’re as good as there is in the league as far as ability and they’re probably as scary a line as you can put on the ice in this league.”

* Michal Neuvirth has beaten the leading contender for the Vezina trophy and one of the leading candidates for the Best Goalie Ever trophy in back-to-back games.

Neuvirth now has a 2.82 GAA and a .907 save percentage despite a six-goal clunker among his five-games of work. Despite that off night in Toronto, his numbers are slightly better than Jose Theodore’s. Bruce Boudreau said Theodore would play Monday at against Carolina, but can he really sit the hot hand at this point?

“I am feeling unbelievable right now,” Neuvirth said. “I just beat the best goalie in the world, so it is amazing.”

* Mike Green has five goals in 10 games. He’s also one goal off the NHL lead for defensemen.

* David Steckel won 15 of 21 faceoffs and made a nice play to set up Matt Bradley’s goal.

* Without Tom Poti in the lineup, Karl Alzner played the second-most minutes behind Green with exactly 20:00. Those were 20 good minutes as well.