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Caps 7, Islanders 2

How do you know when a team's offense is clicking? When John Erskine records his first goal in 109 games and sets up another with a slick-looking assist. That's how.

The Caps routed the Islanders 7-2 at Nassau Coliseum to record their season-best seventh straight victory and their 16th game with five or more goals this season. They're now averaging 3.81 goals per game; second-place San Jose is averaging 3.28.

"We got seven goals and [Alex Ovechkin] and [Mike Green] didn't get a point," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It says you've good balance in your team."

The big news of the night, however, had to to with goaltender Jose Theodore. The veteran suffered a lower body injury and did not return for the third period. Boudreau hinted that the Caps may have to recall a goalie from Hershey. I'm thinking it will be touted prospect Braden Holtby, who is 15-2-1 with an AHL-leading 1.82 goals against average and .935 save percentage.

Here's my gamer, and here are a few notes and quotes from the Island:

*The Caps have won seven in a row three times under Boudreau. But they haven't won eight in a row since the 1988-89 season. They can do that tomorrow night at Verizon Center against the Anaheim Ducks, who are coming off a 2-1 loss in Atlanta tonight.

*Six Capitals - Alexander Semin, Erskine, Brendan Morrison, Tomas Fleischmann, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera - had two points tonight. For Chimera, it was his first second two point game as a Capital. For Morrison, the goal was his first in a month and his first multi-point game since Dec. 3.

*Erskine not only scored his first goal in two years tonight, he also had a pretty set up in the first period, when he put a move on an Islander at the point, then fired a shot that Morrison tipped past Dwayne Roloson.

"109 games?" Erskine said after being told the length of his goal drought. "Fehrsie saw me and snuck the pass through. It makes you feel good. I don't get them too often, so I wasn't even sure what to do when it went in."

Boudreau added: "I was very happy for him. There's not many guys that work harder than him, and he gets rewarded. You always think he should have more because he's got a good shot and he's got good offensive instincts."

*Theodore wasn't the only player to go down tonight. Islanders defenseman Jack Hillen got hit in the mouth by an Ovechkin slap shot in the first period. Hillen bled profusely on the ice and was later taken to the hospital. That's all I've heard.

"We hate that," Boudreau said. "When you've got kids playing hockey, and you see that, you just hope his face is okay."

A hush fell over the crowd and I suspect the Islanders let up momentarily as they worried about their comrade. Hillen crumpled to the ice with about two minutes to go in the first period and the Caps scored two more times to send the game into the second, 4-1.

*Weird to see the Caps get seven goals and Ovechkin finish with 10 shots but no points. I though No. 8 was flying tonight, beginning with that shot he took while sliding on his knees a minute into the game. He also had a nice break-in later, but was stopped.

*The Caps' streak of 14 straight penalties killed ended on their first shorthanded situation of the night. Rob Schremp fired a pretty shot past Theodore short-side to make it 4-1.

*Mike Green didn't get a point, but he filled the scoresheet in other ways: two shots, four takeaways and three blocked shots.

*It took three whacks, but Mike Knuble finally got the puck past Roloson in the first period. That was his ninth goal in 13 games.

The Caps don't get much of a turnaround before facing the Ducks tomorrow night. But with Anaheim flying in from Atlanta, neither team figures to have much of an advantage.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 26, 2010; 11:24 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning roundup: You could say 'they're in a groove'

Comments

C.A.P.S.....CAPS, CAPS, CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: cbs75 | January 26, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Steve Hindle theorizing based on BB's description that JT's "lower body injury" is his back spasms returning. Makes sense given that there wasn't really any contact or spectacular movement that looked dangerous. Would be a best case scenario. Call up Holtby to back up Nuevy tomorrow night. Gives JT 3 days rest heading into Sat vs. FLA.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 26, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Was that Chimera's 1st multi point game as a Cap? What about the game with the Gordie Howe hat trick?

Posted by: bigalgreek | January 26, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Great game by the Caps. Would've liked Semin to get a hatty though.

Btw, just found a pretty interesting new Caps blog- http://hubpages.com/hub/caps_blog

Posted by: gfsportsfan | January 26, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:
i going to assume that you... don't drive much, don't work much and don't attend many sporting events

hahahahaha

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 26, 2010 11:50 PM

Capt Kirk: You are an astute observer.

Cheers.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 27, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

RicketyCricket:

Caps play Fl on Fri, not Sat.

Posted by: cbs75 | January 27, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

So what you're saying is that Knuble's ninth goal in thirteen games that was his ninth goal in thirteen games was actually his ninth goal in thirteen games??

Posted by: sonsofcain | January 27, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey, bed time for me. I get to watch the Ducks game on HD (NHLNet) and then it's off to the six-night Las Vegas/Death Valley vacation. I'll bet, based on statistics, that only one of you out there has been to Death Valley.

I have about two hundred per diem money from business travel where I ate on the cheap (moi?). I will "invest" that at the gaming tables.

Otherwise I'll be in the absolute middle of nowhere. I will miss games vs Fla, TB and Bos. Missing games is tough. If I get the job offer to move to CA, I will miss most of two month's worth up to the Playoffs. It's extra tough because they come on at 4 pm there and the hotel TV doesn't have VS or NHL Net. I will suffer.

Until I check my bank account.

Soldier on, folks. This is a good team. The Isles announcers compared them to the Oilers mid-80s. I don't know I'd do that, not until the Caps have 2 Cups.

I expect three in this decade.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 27, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

@sonsofcain - So what you're saying is that Knuble's ninth goal in thirteen games that was his ninth goal in thirteen games was actually his ninth goal in thirteen games??
---------------------------------------------
AHHHHHAHAA man! I wanted to press report the abuse button for a moment lol. Tarik is having a bad day today lol. Messed up on that Knuble thing and Chimera actually had already had a Gordie hatty where he recorded 2 points LOL Pooor Tarik... Go CAPPPPS

Posted by: sdima | January 27, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Alas someone already beat me to it, Chimera had a multi-point game prior to tonight, the game in which he had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick(A goal, an assist, and a fight)

Posted by: breaklance | January 27, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to beat a dead but the biggest acquisition of the 2009/2010 season is none other than Mike Knuble. He goes to the dirt places and gets his goals. His predecessor Kozlov never went to the net and often times skated away from intense situations. His playoff goal stats show that. It was a superlative move by GMGM to bring this guy to DC and now it is paying dividends. Sure, Fehr and Laich are a year older but they are being mentored by a real leader in Knuble. Hats off to the Caps management for recognizing that one of the final pieces was one of their thorns 150 miles to the north.

Posted by: diner99 | January 27, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

diner99:
i didn't hate kozlov, but wasn't a big fan either.
for BB's system, imo, chimera > kozlov too

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 27, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Steve Hindle theorizing based on BB's description that JT's "lower body injury" is his back spasms returning. Makes sense given that there wasn't really any contact or spectacular movement that looked dangerous. Would be a best case scenario.

Posted by: RicketyCricket

----------------

Could be the back spasms, but that would be upper body, wouldn't it? Also, back spasms can be TERRIBLE. He could very well be out until the Olympics with back spasms.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 27, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

AHHHHHAHAA man! I wanted to press report the abuse button for a moment lol. Tarik is having a bad day today lol. Messed up on that Knuble thing and Chimera actually had already had a Gordie hatty where he recorded 2 points LOL Pooor Tarik... Go CAPPPPS

Posted by: sdima | January 27, 2010 12:18 AM

------------------

No offense to Tarik, but I think I'd prefer him having the off days rather than anyone on the Caps ;-)

Posted by: Raber | January 27, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

For all those that don't know what a good defenseman does:
*Mike Green didn't get a point, but he filled the scoresheet in other ways: two shots, four takeaways and three blocked shots.

Posted by: Rocc00 | January 27, 2010 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Note to tominfl1....Get Center Ice on your computer so you can watch those games in CA!

Posted by: carlton46 | January 27, 2010 2:45 AM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker -- the lumbar spine would be lower back (below the waist). Spasms there could affect feeling in legs and feet. The cervical spine would be neck area, and the thoracic spine goes from neck to waist.

Posted by: miseaujeu | January 27, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Not to dump on Tarik here...but Schremp's PP goal made it 2-1.

Posted by: DCinNYC | January 27, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

My wife asked me why we are still watching the game at 6 - 2. The kid needed a bath. And this is the excuse I came up with. 'Honey, you are witnessing history... This could be one of the greatest teams ever in the NHL...' I pulled that out of my where the sun don't shine... Except, I sat back and said... maybe... They are so stacked and playing well. I think they are realizing what kind of team they have or they are on, and are grasping that fact and playing like it.

They have improved a lot since last year and that was really evident during the PENS game. PENS just sat there and didn't do much to improve. Now if we can get some good fortune during the playoffs and make a great run to the finish... who knows how that will make this decade turn out?

GO CAPS...

Is it true no CAP has had a hat trick yet this year??? amazin isn't it?

Posted by: doeshin | January 27, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Also, Couple of years back, when the CAPS weren't playing as well or as good, Tarik used to have columns and blogs and there would MAXIMUM of 3 comments to NO comments... I guess this is why we are always accused of being Fair Weather Fans... HA HA... raise your hand if you are guilty. It was quite sad... No Comments, No One cared, No Opinions.... Now that the CAPS are good, all of sudden, In droves... Let's not be fair weather fans!!! I remember thinking, there are more comments for the Wizards then the caps.... that is baaaad.... well, let's try to rid ourselves of the fair weather fan tags!!!

GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: doeshin | January 27, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

@doeshin

This blog has always had a good number of solid posters..even during the lean year. It was just the same group of people posting.

and yes, the caps do not have a single Hat trick this year... it is actually quite amazing.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | January 27, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"I'll be in the absolute middle of nowhere. I will miss games vs Fla, TB and Bos. Missing games is tough. If I get the job offer to move to CA, I will miss most of two month's worth up to the Playoffs. It's extra tough because they come on at 4 pm there and the hotel TV doesn't have VS or NHL Net. I will suffer."
Posted by: tominfl1 | January 27, 2010 12:16 AM

Now that you're on the verge of being rich, you need to consider getting some new hardware. Comcast+Tivo+Slingbox+Laptop= never missing another Caps game. And, you get HD when all the stars align.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | January 27, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

sorry to get off subject, does it piss anyone else off that Ahole-cast shows the suck ass Gizzards on HD! i dont care if they r at home point is they suck! i wouldnt care if they were in first place, i still wouldnt watch! feel sorry for Antawn, he's the only player with any class!

Posted by: bigBinMd | January 27, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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