Washington and Vancouver Tease
February 2, 2010 by Big Tony
While all of the off-ice moves (“big trades”) are made there are a few teams making some big pushes on the ice. The best of these recent pushes are the Washington Capitals who are currently streaking at 10 games and counting while the Vancouver Canucks have won seven in a row. Both streaks are quite impressive of course but I’m of the opinion that neither streak is really all that big of a deal. First off the Washington Capitals have been down this road before. Not so much the winning 10 straight but they have put up the big numbers by scoring a ton of goals and steamrolling through their division while also disposing of some pretty good non-divisional opponents as well. The problem for Washington remains the same today as it was two years ago and that is a lack of defensive presence. It seems like just about everybody on their team can score goals but when it comes to a best of seven series you cannot simply outscore the other team 7-5 every game eventually you will have to stop the good teams from scoring. It is essentially the reverse New Jersey problem for Washington—i.e. since the lockout New Jersey can keep anyone from scoring in the regular season and pile up the points but come playoff time they can’t score enough and lose; whereas Washington can outscore anyone in the regular season but come playoff time they can’t stop anybody and get eliminated. The Capitals have been built to and are EXPECTED to win in the playoffs, another early round exit will not cut it with the front-office or the fans but until they start playing DEFENSE that’s exactly what will happen.
The Vancouver Canucks are in a bit of a different situation from Washington. The problem for Vancouver is that in the past they have relied so much on Luongo—who performs admirably all season—that once the playoffs roll around he tends to break down and they simply don’t have the offense to bail him out the way he often bails them out. So for the moment the Vancouver winning streak is nothing more than a tease for history shows they will rely on Luongo too much once again and be eliminated no later than round two. The X-factor for Vancouver however (something Washington does not have) is the emergence of Alex Burrows on the same line with the Sedin twins. We all knew the Sedin twins could score the who knew Alex Burrows would develop into such a scoring threat himself? If Alex Burrows plays this way in the post-season and Ryan Kesler can up his game just a bit the Vancouver Canucks you see running off seven straight now could be the same team that hoists the Stanley Cup in June.