Book It: Washington Will Win the Stanley Cup (and Chinatown will never be the same)
-The team is incredibly well-rounded. With nine games left in their schedule, they have five players with 50 or more points. Two others have more than 45.
-What’s the basic premise in hockey? Score more goals than your opponent. At +81, their goal differential is ridiculous. The next closest is Chicago with +57. It’s the highest differential since the 2005-2006 season.
-They’re pretty great on the road. With 22 road victories, they’re tied for the most in the NHL. They’re also pretty good at home — their 27 wins on home ice is also tied for most in the league.
-Jose Theodore and Semyon Varmalov are not exactly reminiscent of Domink Hasek or Patrick Roy (although Theodore has been 17-0-2 since mid-January), but winning a cup with slightly above-average goalies has been done in the not-to-distant past. In 2005-2006, the Cup-winning Carolina Hurricanes had two goalies with GAA’s and Save %’s worse than both Theodore and Varmalov. Much like this season’s Capitals, those Hurricanes spread the wealth: they too had over five players with 50 points or more.
-Olympics heroics or not (and really, is it that hard to win a gold medal when Rick Nash and Jerome Iginla are your line-mates?), the Capitals have arguably the best player in hockey. And he’s not afraid to hit somebody.
-They show up for big games. Undefeated in three games against the Penguins this year. The Flyers? An imperfect 3-1, with the one loss coming in the third game of the season. In those four games against Philly: 23 goals scored. Three wins against playoff-bound Buffalo. Wins against Detroit and Chicago. The one team they’ve had trouble with all year, the New Jersey Devils, they beat 4-1 in their last meeting. The Caps aren’t afraid of anyone.
In a town that desperately needs a winner, the Washington Capitals have the opportunity to banish the misery of DC sports fans everywhere. At least until the Redskins start training camp…
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