If you’re anything like me, you entered this Canes season hopeful. Too hopeful. They’re 15-17-5 right now and at this same time last year they were 18-13-7, so things have managed to get worse despite what you thought was possible and you hoped would happen.
Day two of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championships got underway with an early face-off between Russia and Denmark, with four games on the schedule again that ended with Finland taking on Kazakhstan who returned to the top division for the first time since 2009.
To all those celebrating Christmas, Happy and/or Merry Christmas. To the rest of us, happy Cookie Season. Everything’s going to be on sale on December 26th and you know what? We’re going to be ready. The Capitals did admirably this week, even with the prospect of a few days off as a light at the end of the tunnel, coming out of a three game stretch with two wins, leaving them with nearly identical home and away records. The depth stole the show, with goals by Eller, Connolly, and Stephenson, and the shutout win against Ottawa was the perfect present to all Capitals fans.
Well, it’s certainly been an interesting month or so in Flyers fandom…
Welcome back to your regular Flyers of Philadelphia updates. Apologies for the break, but I am back now and ready to go!
Where to even start…
The road to hit ten home and ten away wins was a hard one for the Capitals, but thirty-two games in, they’ve taken both milestones, thanks to an impressive three win week against Detroit, Carolina, and Buffalo.
With the week before the National Hockey League’s holiday break looming before them, it remains to be seen how many more wins they can add to their impressive total of twenty, which has them in the top six league wide, behind only Tampa Bay (25), Nashville (22), Winnipeg (21), Toronto (21), and Calgary (21).
With a fourth line that’s had an incredible December, the addition of T.J. Oshie to the electric combination of Ovechkin and Backstrom on the top line, and Siegenthaler and Bowey combining for a third pair experience no one could have expected, could the Capitals go 3-0 two weeks in a row?
Jakub Vrana has four points (2G/2A) this week after being held scoreless for three games straight to close out the month of November.
Vrana is four goals away from matching his career high of thirteen (2017-18) and five assists from his career high of fourteen assists (also during 2017-18). With nine more points this season, Vrana will also match his career high, all of which look easily within reach. He’s been a monster at even strength, with every one of his goals and all but one of his assists coming at even strength, and while his shooting percentage is hovering around 17%, he’s making the most of good linemates and scoring opportunities.
This increase in offense coming despite a two minute increase in average ice time for game means that Vrana, despite some minor slips here and there, is adjusting nicely to a scoring role on the Capitals. As his ELC (expiring in July 2019) comes to a close, making gains on career highs across the board is a very good sign for Vrana’s future earning opportunities and could secure himself a spot on the Capitals well past the Seattle Expansion Draft.
Nicklas Backstrom (who has more points and assists than Sidney Crosby) has cracked the top ten of league wide point scoring while Alex Ovechkin waits just outside, and as the All-Star Game approaches (in San Jose, no less!), Capitals fans are joyfully reckoning with the fact that we may see both selected this year. The foundation for a Nicklas Backstrom, Metropolitan Division Captain campaign is already being laid on Twitter.
The real question: will you honor the Goblin King’s claim to the throne or face his fury?