For years, the book on How To Beat The Washington Capitals read something like this: Shut down Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin and on most nights you win the game.
With the additions of Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward and Jeff Halpern, along with the emergence of Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault, the Caps have become a very difficult team to match up against.
They proved it again Saturday night with a 7-1 beat down of the previously unbeaten Detroit Red Wings. Fourteen different Capitals made their way onto the scoresheet as the club won its seventh straight to start the season.
Ovechkin took a season-low 18 shifts and logged just 16:14 of ice time in the win. By comparison, third-line center Brooks Laich took 25 shifts and logged 17:16 of ice time.
The Capitals power play, a thorn in their sides last season, has been on fire through seven games. The Caps are 8-for-27 on the man-advantage, scoring on a league-leading 29.6 percent of their opportunities. Last season they finished 16th in the NHL at 17.5 percent.
A big reason? Ovechkin has moved from his familiar spot on the left point to the left halfwall and has even been seen drifting in front of the net, making the Caps far less predictable than in the past.
With Michal Neuvirth cleared to return from a bruised right foot, the Capitals have assigned goaltender Dany Sabourin to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.Sabourin, 31, is 2-0-0 with a 3.50 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage with Hershey this season. He spent all of last season with the Bears, recording a 14-9-0 record with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 23 games.