While a confidence-boosting, 7-2 victory in Calgary on Saturday night ended a three-game road trip on a high note, it also highlighted the inconsistency in the Caps' play early this season because it followed a game in which they could barely handle the puck, let alone score.
Now that the Capitals are clamping down on defense -- they've allowed an average of 2.27 goals per game, down from 2.77 in 2009-10 -- they need to figure out how to hang onto the high-scoring style they've become known for.
"There should be a balance. It shouldn't be a fine line between the two, but right now it kind of is with us," center David Steckel said. "But by the same token, we still haven't given up many goals, our defense is improving but we're still giving up chances and the goalie's coming up huge. We're not trying for a trade-off but I think we just need to bear down individually a little more to have the type of game we want."
Click here to read Katie's wrap-up of the games in Carolina, Minnesota and Calgary, and a few additional Monday morning links are right this way:
FROM THE POST
The Caps started out slow against the Flames in the first period. "The other 40 minutes? Yeah, I think that's what we wanted," David Steckel said.
Neil Greenberg explains that Alex Ovechkin could be scoring less because he's not taking quality shots.
The Caps sent Brian Fahey and Mathieu Perreault back to Hershey yesterday, which probably means someone is healthy again or will be in time for Wednesday's game against Toronto. Stay tuned for injury updates after this morning's practice.
AROUND THE WEB
Happy belated Halloween from a bunch of dancing, singing, zombiefied hockey players. (RMNB)
Could Ovechkin have beaten Bill Mosienko's 21-second hat trick? We'll never know. (Montreal Gazette via Alex Ovetjkin)
The Caps seem to be taking some advice they didn't know they got from Ed Olczyk, who told The Hockey News in the preseason that Washington needed to learn to play more than their flashy, high-scoring "one way and one way only."
George McPhee and some angry Bears fans were on hand in Hershey to watch a 6-2 loss at the hands of the Baby Pens. (Sweetest Hockey on Earth)
Ted Leonsis is sick of the "Bitter. Sour. Dyspeptic. Random. Disrespectful" emails from Caps fans during games, and is "shutting down access to me from certain individuals via email." (Ted's Take)
Scary hockey fans: