For half of Thursday's game against the Islanders, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom looked like their old selves, creating chances off the rush and picking opponents' pockets to gain control of the puck in the neutral zone.
While it's definitely a good thing to see both of the Capitals stars record two points in that 2-1 victory, Washington has seen the signs of a potential breakout before over the past month and a half as the team has struggled to score and yet, they couldn't get over the hump. To some extent though, Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn't expect anyone to start rattling off bushel baskets of goals a night like they used to right now.
"They're not going to get five goals and five points," Boudreau said after the win. "Our team isn't made up right now like that. If you look at the line siutattion, the combinations aren't going to score that many goals."
Revisiting the topic during a conference call with reporters Friday, Boudreau said although he'd like to see all of the Capitals players who are used to scoring score at their regular paces again if winning comes in the form of 2-1 instead of 6-4 he'll take it.
"You'd like everybody to score and do well, but the winning is the No. 1 thing," Boudreau said. "I think everybody that watches us, winning is secondary unless we lose. Everybody wants to see Alex [Ovechkin] and Nick [Backstrom] and Mike [Green] and where are the six or seven goals they're used to us scoring. We're not there right now."
--Boudreau said Semyon Varlamov will be "able to play for sure" Saturday, assuming of course that he is picked to play against the Maple Leafs.
--Hits to the head have been a hot topic for a few seasons now and the discussion has picked up again with Sidney Crosby suffering from a concussion. The much talked about collision between the Capitals' David Steckel and Crosby at the Winter Classic is believed to have contributed to the injury and Boudreau stood up for Steckel.
"If it was reversed and Sidney happened to hit David Steckel and he didn't see him, nobody would be saying a word," said Boudreau, pointing to the Washington center's low number of penalty minutes throughout his career. "It's because it's Sidney Crosby, quite frankly.....It was an accident. Steckel is 6-5, and Crosby is 5-11 and your shoulder's going to meet the head with that difference in size."