Being 7-1-1 in your last nine games is definately something to boast about, especially when you were expected to be at the basement of the Eastern Conference. I had said before the season started that the Caps would make the playoffs this season, and they are proving me right. The Caps play the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, and as Mike Vogel points out, the Lightning have an opposite trend going of being 1-7-1 in their last nine games. With the Eastern Conference being grouped so tight right now, it's the perfect time for the Caps to grab hold of a secure spot in the East. Obviously you have to win and others have to lose for the ladder to work completely in your favor, but the odds of grabbing second in the conference are much better than expected. In addition, the Caps need to stake claim to the 2nd spot in their own division. The Southeast Division third place Carolina is one point behind the Caps for second in their division.
On to tonights game. Well, Zednik and Bradley are still out making it easier for Hanlon on who out of Klepis, Laich, and Beech gets dressed. Regardless, Brooks Laich has been playing great hockey. Ever since he got his first point on the season with a sweet spin-o-rama pass to Zednik, he's been playing with confidence and attitude. Even in games where he doesn't get on the board, he is one of the unsung heroes. I distinctly remember in the Ottawa game a couple of weeks ago how Laich and Boyd Gordon were two of the best players on the ice that game. Further more, two shorthanded goals in two straight games, both were pretty. I think that some expect too much of him right now. We see what he's capable of, and he is constantly improving. What more could you ask for? Still, Zednik and Bradley are missed. And now, I'm sure many fans are disappointed (as am I) because it looks as if for the first time this season since his call up, Erskine will not be dressed. Too bad, I was looking for another confrentation between he and Martin St. Louis. Oh well. I'm going to say Caps take this 4-1. Goals from Clark, Ovechkin, Heward, and Laich.