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The Caps' Facts of Life

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jo, Tootie and Blair knew full well that you have to take the good and take the bad if you want to know about the facts of life.

    And so far in this young Washington Capitals season, there's been a little bit of both.

    Let's take a gander at the good and the bad ... and we'll throw in some ugly, just for good measure.

    The Good:

    The Caps are 2-0 on the year after beating two division foes -- the Hurricanes in OT and the Lightning in a shootout. It's a good start to what looks to be a dogfight for the top spot in the Southeast.

    The role players are stepping up early in the season. Jason Chimera already has three goals and the Bruce Boudreau-dubbed "Meat and Potatoes Line" of Chimera, Brooks Laich and Joel Ward have combined for seven points in the first two games.

    "[We’re] just three guys working hard," Chimera said after Monday's game. "We all really take pride in going against their No. 1 line and playing really good defense. And mostly when you play good defense, it leads to good offense."

    The Bad:

    The Caps' top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble have combined for no goals, three assists and a minus-4 rating. Ovechkin, who usually takes more shots than Georgetown students during Greek Week, has just five through two games.

    Despite being undefeated on the season, the Caps' blew a late third-period lead against the Canes, allowing Carolina to steal a point in the standings, and had to make a comeback of their own just to reach overtime against Tampa Bay -- which also got a point in the standings in a high-scoring affair.

    The Ugly:

    That debut by Tomas Vokoun in a Caps jersey was one he certain will want to forget. He gave up five goals on 28 shots, including a couple from behind the goal line. While he did make a big save in overtime on Vinny Lecavalier to avert a loss, that performance won't do much to instill confidence in his new teammates and the coaching staff -- which saw Michal Neuvirth perform well on opening night.

    “If you asked Tomas, he’ll be the first one to tell you that’s probably not the way he wrote the script," Boudreau said after the game.

    That's not to say that Vokoun was entirely to blame for his poor stats in his first start. His teammates didn't really help him on several of the five scored on him. And really, once our alien overlords come down and wipe out our civilization, let's hope they don't use that Caps-Bolts game to determine how professional hockey players played defense. Just burn the video of that one. Put it out of its misery. Please.

    Speaking of misery, the saga of Alex Semin continues. Sasha scored on a breakaway in the second period against the Canes (Cherry pick? What? Where?), but followed that up with an inexplicable boarding call at the end of regulation that gave Carolina a prime opportunity to win it in OT. Luckily for Semin, they didn't convert.

    Then on Monday night, Semin took another bad penalty in overtime. He was called for hooking after losing control of the puck near his own blue line while the Caps were on a 4-on-3 power play. At that point in the game he was already a minus-2. But, in classic Semin fashion, he eventually sealed the win in the shootout with a nifty move against Dwayne Roloson.

    That's just Alex Semin being Alex Semin. He'll give you the good, the bad, and the ugly -- oftentimes all in the same game.

    And that, dear readers, is another one of the facts of life.