Last season was a magical year for the Washington Capitals.
After being predicted by many to get eliminated from the postseason in the second round, the Caps shocked the hockey world and won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. They dominated the other Cinderella story of last season, the Vegas Golden Knights, en route to a five-game Cup series victory.
It appears that they have carried their strong play over to the start of this season. This is somewhat rare considering that many teams who win hockey’s Holy Grail usually experience a Cup hangover the following season.
Not the Capitals folks. As of this writing (October 11), they are 2-0-1 and have beaten some solid teams in the Vegas Golden Knights and the Boston Bruins. They actually could be 3-0, but they lost to the Penguins by a score of 7-6 in overtime last week.
Leading the way for this hockey club is Evgeny Kuznetsov. As of this writing, he has 7 points (3 goals and 4 assists) and is playing the way he did in the playoffs last year.
“Kuzy” has been great on the power play (4 power play points), is putting pucks on net (11 shots on goal), obviously has a good shooting percentage (27.3), and is doing everything the right way. Playing well in the playoffs last year certainly has seemed to give him confidence thus far in the early going.
Of course, you cannot talk about the Caps without mentioning Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin is tied for the team lead in goals (4) with T.J. Oshie. As always, he also leads the team in shots with 15 and clearly, that will go way up for Ovi as the season rolls along.
Like last season, Caps’ goaltender Braden Holtby is off to a slow start. After shutting out the Bruins in the season opener, his play has been spotty as he currently has a 2.98 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. Hopefully, for the Caps and Holtby, he will get his game on track and play the way they’ve become accustomed to in the regular season.
With the team finally having won a Cup last season, we should expect the Caps to have a great regular season as the pressure is off. Ovechkin should go nuts scoring goals, Holtby’s play will improve, and they should go into the playoffs, assuming that they make it, knowing that they can win it all again.
It’s a good time to be a Caps fan.