3 Losses, 3 Wins, 3 Losses, 3 Wins ... What is next in this pattern?
Back in late February the Caps lost three games in a row. The playoff hopes began to collapse.
They followed up with three wins in a row, the third one a miraculous and improbable win against the Islanders. The Capitals barely defeated those Islanders in a game where the Caps underperformed. Aside from the last 3 minutes of the game, the Caps didn't do anything at all. However, three wins is three wins and the playoffs were back in the picture.
The next game the Caps were destroyed by the New Jersey Devils to start a 3 game losing streak picking up losses to the Flyers and Hurricanes. Those four games featured some of the Capitals worst hockey of the entire season, and happened during an important home stretch during a playoff chase. The playoff hopes began to collapse.
Since then the Caps have bounced back, picking up three huge wins in a row. The playoff hopes are back in the picture.
That puts us back at today. We have had days of discussing how the Caps were failing and how they had several huge flaws. We have had days of discussing how the Caps were succeeding and how they had several huge plays. So will the Caps finally break the pattern?
In the past month of games we have seen a lot of the same old Caps, struggling to score, and turning the puck over. They are getting down early and having to fight back instead of dominating the opposition.
However some things that we did not see in the winning streaks before this one started to happen. Some things that point to the fact that maybe the Caps are poised to make a run. Alex Semin started to play all-star caliber hockey. The Caps powerplay stepped up their execution and pressure. Aucoin and Beagle have really stepped up. And all the players have a more intense look.
Those things are a welcome sign, but they aren't enough. The Caps are going to have to start Dominating the puck. They are going to have to start scoring quickly and putting the pressure on the other team. And the rest of the Caps players, Ovi in particular, need to step up their game.
So after another week of hockey we will have a better idea on whether the Caps will not just make the playoffs, but be in a position to win a round or two. Or we will see that the team has many fundamental flaws that were not addressed before the trade deadline.