The NHL standings change on the daily during the regular season. In the Metropolitan Division, it is a tight race these days. None of the teams inside the Metropolitan Division can afford to have any lengthy losing stretches. As the regular season approaches the spring, the games become a little bit more meaningful and intense.
The Capitals are trying to position themselves at the top of the standings by the end of the regular season. The Capitals are currently there, but their points lead is far from safe. The Capitals are in good shape, but have plenty of work to do.
SOME LACKING ENERGY
When the Capitals clash against the Penguins, it is always a spirited affair. Unfortunately for the Capitals, the Penguins got the best of them on Super Bowl Sunday as the Capitals lost the 4-3 matchup.
While the Capitals competed, it was not a complete 60-minute effort. There were mistakes made, and those mistakes ultimately ended up in the back of the Capitals net. There were a mix of players that tried and competed the whole game, but there were a select few that did not generate much in this contest.
CHANGING THE ATTACK
The Capitals have played a wider open game under Todd Reirden. The results of the new approach are good. The Capitals aggressive attack can overwhelm teams on any given night. The Capitals can win games with their talent and depth alone.
As the games get tighter in the spring, the Capitals must find a way to play a tighter game. To play a tighter game, they must play better defensively. That includes things like blocking more shots, getting more sticks into lanes to intercept passes, and winning more board battles.
The Capitals are at their best when they are not playing the “perimeter” game. The Capitals are great when they can get a heavy forecheck going against the opposition. The Capitals have plenty of players that are big and strong, so they must find ways to play a big and strong game. When the Capitals are attacking the opposition’s net for 60 minutes, they have shown that they can be unbeatable.
Most importantly, the Capitals must change the mindset as the spring approaches. They need to embrace a swagger of being the best. They must have the right attitude going into the spring when the games become more challenging.
Championship teams carry a belief that they are the best. The Capitals must find that same mindset that carried them to the Stanley Cup in 2018. There is nothing wrong with having a championship attitude and swagger.
By: George Foussekis