The Capitals must have benefited from some of that fresh mountain air as they walked away with a resounding victory against the resurging Colorado Avalanche last night. Jose Theodore rebounded from his previous not-so-stellar performances in the last few outings with a rock-solid performance against his former team. The boys got the memo from Bruce on playing the full 60 minutes and dare I say it, looked like true Cup contenders last night. HM doesn't think we've seen such an outstanding performance since opening night against the Bruins!
Avs' net minder, Craig Anderson, who to date has had one of the hottest hands in the league, struggled mightily against the Caps' offense. Anderson made his way to the bench to be replaced by backup Peter Budaj at the start of the third period. But before taking a seat, he was the unlucky recipient of two Capitals goals in the first and three in the second. And how about that youngster Kyle Wilson, making his NHL debut on his birthday and garnering assists on both of Fleischmann's goals? Happy birthday to you indeed!
Mike Knuble nailed a fabulous back-handed deke to add to the scoresheet and the boys also saw tallies from Flash (2), Matt Bradley, David Steckel and Nick Backstrom.
In addition to the Caps' offensive explosion, the other big story was the bad behavior of Avs' enforcer David Koci. Shaone Morrison was injured on a hit from Koci in the first period and did not return to action. But things came to fisticuffs late in the second period when Koci steamrolled Mike Green from behind, ramming his face rudely into the glass and leaving him slumped on the ice. Caps' tough guy John Erskine came to blows with Koci over the incident and was charged with the instigator penalty. HM sincerely hopes that the League doles out a suspension over that hit - a prime example of the dangerous and uncessary hits that the GMs are trying to eradicate from the game. Thuggery, pure and simple. Glad to report that Green seems to be okay (though am confident he's probably sporting a pretty bad shiner) so we hope to see him back on the ice against the Canucks on Friday.
All in all - a great win which helps the Caps retain the number one spot in the Eastern Conference with 48 points. Don't look back though as those pesky Penguins are sitting a mere point below our boys after basically shellacking the Flyers last night (in a game that saw three fights in the first period alone).
But for now we have to focus on a tough match against a very good Vancouver team on Friday - between the two of them, the Sedin twins have amassed an impressive 61 points already!