On Mar. 1 of the 2010-11 NHL season, the Washington Capitals were sitting five points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Southeast Division and were just three total games above .500. (33-20-10)
The Caps went on to win the first eight games of the month as part of a 12-2-1 March record in which the team moved from fifth place in the Eastern Conference to second. The Caps did all of this with Braden Holtby registering six wins, including five in a row, and Alex Ovechkin netted four game winning goals from March onward. (Ovi notched his second GWG Tuesday night)
After George McPhee came under much scrutiny for standing pat at the trade deadline this season, there were plenty of critics who thought the Capitals season was going nowhere, much less the playoffs.
However, is it possible that GMGM knows that this core group of players is the reason why the Caps have been able to steal four straight division championships? And is it possible that this core group of players has just not gotten the right bounces in April to land the organization's first Stanley Cup?
Over the past four years, the Capitals have been able to put together a combined record 36-13-7 (64.3 win %) in the month of March.
Shoulda traded Alex Ovechkin you say? Might be a little rash considering what The Great 8 has done in the month over the last four years.
Ovechkin has recorded a combined 72 points in just 50 March games (31 goals), and perhaps even more incredible Ovi notched at least a point in 40 of the 50 games. Sounds like the recipe for success, especially when the Caps have a record of 27-8-1 this season when their captain gets on the scoresheet.
Shoulda traded Alex Semin?
Putting aside the 2007-08 season, the often-criticized Semin has recorded 42 points in 41 games over the past three years in March. Include the 17 goals he has registered over that time period, and it looks like you have a very productive player in crunch time. (Also, contrary to beliefs, Semin is a point-per-game player in the playoffs)
Shouldn't have given Brooks Laich a lengthy long-term contract?
The heart of the Caps squad has saved his best hockey for the month of March as he has recorded a very solid 42 points in 52 games over the past four years. In all four of those seasons, Laich has been able to record at least 10 points in the month of March, which is a drastic difference considering he has failed to accomplish that same feat in any month this season.
You can say what you want about the Washington Capitals struggles in April/May, but the fact of the matter is George McPhee has built a team that consists of players who know how to win when their back is against the wall in the final (full) month of the season.
Capitals 101 believes this March will be no different.
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