There are some differences; for example, this team averages 2.29 goals against per game, ranked third in the NHL, while the 2009-10 Capitals were 16th in the league with 2.77 goals against per game. The top goaltender for Washington was Jose Theodore, who had a .911 save percentage and a 2.81 goals-against average. The current Capitals have Vezina Trophy-favorite Braden Holtby, who sports a league-leading 40 wins with a .922 save percentage and a 2.24 goals-against average.
Only six players remain from the Presidents’ Trophy team. That team famously lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, despite taking a 3-1 series lead. This team will most likely also win the Presidents’ Trophy, so how would Boudreau compare the two?
“They’re a lot older, and I mean experience-wise,”Boudreau said on Monday morning. “We were a bunch of young kids coming in there and just playing every night, not realizing how hard it is to win. When we finally got into a position where the goalie was really, really good, we couldn’t handle it.
“I think these guys have learned from their mistakes in those years, and I think they’re much better. It’s not Nicky [Backstrom’s] second year or Carlson’s rookie year and Alzner’s rookie year. These guys are established players now, and I think that’s a big reason why they’re continuing their pace throughout the whole year.”
Alzner would agree with that assessment, citing the benefits in some changes to the roster (like the additions of Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie, Mike Richards, Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, three of whom have already won at least one Stanley Cup).
“We are just more mature,” Alzner said. “We handle the ebbs and flows of the game a lot better. We don’t get too high and we haven’t been low. It’s just an advantage of having guys that have been around for a while and guys that have won, bringing in some new blood that hasn’t been through the losses that we have in the playoffs and some of the struggles that we’ve had against certain teams.
“I don’t know. We injected new life into the room, and we’re feeling good.”