Mar 11, 2011, 3:38 PM EDT
If the 2010-11 season experienced by both the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals teaches us anything, it’s that a typical NHL campaign features some brilliant peaks and some bleak valleys.
The Capitals experienced two wildly different streaks this season, as they lost eight consecutive games in time for the taping of HBO’s 24/7 series but now find themselves on a seven-game winning streak thanks in part to Alex Ovechkin‘s resurgence. Many people were rolling out their “Told ya so” columns when things looked dark for the defending champion Blackhawks, but those people are noticeably quiet after Jonathan Toews helped them produce a 9-2-1 run in their last 12 games.
Yet as Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago points out, neither team can smell the roses during their recent parades of success. Sure, Chicago is currently holding a playoff spot in the West, but only one point separates the Blackhawks from ninth-place Nashville. While Washington’s playoff status is fairly safe, its Southeast Division lead is tenuous at best, being the Capitals are only three points ahead of Tampa Bay.
Myers asked Toews about his expectations for Sunday’s contest.
“We had a tough game against Tampa the other night and we expect the same thing against Washington,” Jonathan Toews said. “As tight as the West is it’s tight in the East, too. Every team’s trying to secure their playoff spots. Regardless of standings, teams want to play their best hockey right now. So you look at the top guns and they are starting to play better.”
So while the Hawks reminisce about their 2009-10 success with the most powerful man in the world, they cannot look at their visit to D.C. as a glorified photo op. A simple glance at the standings shows that both teams need every point they can get.
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 20
- Rangers chase Emery, top Flyers for 2-1 series lead 42
- Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead 18
- And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated 60
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) 2
- Bettman says shootouts are staying, gives salary cap estimate 31
- Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question 44
- On Matt Cooke and whether he’s a ‘repeat offender’ 58
- Marleau, O’Reilly and St. Louis named Lady Byng finalists 20
- Zuccarello: ‘I’m not a diver’ 50
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (127)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)