In this week’s snapshot, Peter offered his assessment of the Caps’ chances this Spring in the playoffs:

However they looked in October and whatever hot streaks we’ve seen this season, the Capitals are not a championship team. (Or, if they are, we haven’t seen evidence of it lately.) They’re not bad like under Adam Oates (and for that I am grateful) but they’re not great. They’re just good. They’re a good team with a good coach.

Unless the bounces go bad or they draw a tough team, these Capitals should make it into the second round of the playoffs. No further.

I tend to agree with Peter. The Caps are a solid team. And while anything can happen once you get into the playoffs, I wouldn’t put any kind of money on this being the Caps’ year. They are a good team, but they are not currently a Cup-caliber team.

But, like I said, anything can happen once you’re in the playoffs. So let’s look at three reasons the Caps could win the Cup, beyond the fact that hockey, much like life, is often more random and unpredictable than we can comprehend. And then to be end on a downer, we’ll look at three reasons the Caps won’t win the Cup.

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Photo: Monumental Network

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman released his latest 30 Thoughts column on Tuesday. He had a blurb about defenseman Mike Green, who will be unrestricted free agent this summer.

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In the final minute of last night’s game, Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek had a run-in with Braden Holtby. It did not end well for Vanek.

Or his stick.

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Milan Lucic has a history of running goaltenders. Tonight he tried to do it to Braden Holtby. Instead he got butt-checked.

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Alright, listen. There was a game and the Caps won, but all I really care about is that Nate Schmidt scored. I’m not gonna play it cool and dedicate just a single, solemn bullet to Nate’s goal because you will all know I’m being disingenuous.

So here, up front, is John Walton calling Nate Schmidt’s goal.

 

And up top is a photo of him being happy because that’s what he does. That’s what relentlessly positive Nate Schmidt does.

And here’s what I looked like after the goal.

Anyway, the Caps beat the Bruins. John Carlson also scored. Holtby got a shutout. Let’s talk about it.

Caps beat Bruins 2-0.

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caps-holtby-mask

Photo: Caps Instagram

Braden Holtby has been busy this year, playing in 53 of the Capitals’ 62 games. Maybe that’s why he just unveiled his fourth new mask of the 2014-15 season. Painted by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarsson, the mask integrates some design features from Holtby’s Winter Classic bucket. The hand-painted Uncle Sam portrait, an homage to Olie Kolzig, returns on the chin.

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The Caps Are Straight Dominating the NHL’s Leaderboard

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Photo: @capsfan74

On February 19th, 2015, let it be remembered that 59 games into the season, the Caps were straight pwning the NHL’s leaderboard. Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals (38) and Nicklas Backstrom leads the league in both assists (45) and points (63). Ovi is also third in the league in points and trails Backstrom by two.

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Braden Holtby Could Have Been a Farmer

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Photo: Monumental Network

ESPN’s Scott Burnside traveled with the Washington Capitals to document the team’s recent annual fathers trip. The whole story is a great read, but my favorite snippet was about Braden Holtby.

Holtby’s father Greg, who was once a junior goaltender with the Saskatoon Blades, revealed that he hoped his son would someday take over the family’s farm. Instead of being the Holtbeast, Braden could have been the Holtcattleherder-- which doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Greg was, in Burnside’s words, “unfailingly supportive” of tiny Braden’s dream of being a NHL goaltender.

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Is Braden Holtby’s Workload a Problem?

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Braden Holtby has appeared in 49 of the Caps’ 58 games, which has him tied with Cory Schneider for the league lead among NHL goalies.  This puts him on pace to play in 69 games this season, a total that would be the fifth most all-time by a Caps’ goalie.  

As the games get more meaningful down the stretch, Holtby’s workload isn’t going to decrease. Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post noted this before the Caps win over the Ducks on Sunday.

If Holtby sits just two times the rest of the way, he will finish the season with 71 appearances. Let’s split the difference between his pace and Alex’s higher estimate and say Holtby will end the season with 70 appearances. A heavy workload, for sure. Some Caps’ fans have expressed concern over Holtby’s regular season workload hindering his playoff performance.

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Sidney Crosby Gently Shoves Braden Holtby (GIF)

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Coming into Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins had been shut out by Braden Holtby in two consecutive games. To try and shake him, the Penguins crashed the net on every play.

That’s cool and all, but the Holtbeast wasn’t impressed. Especially when Chris Kunitz got a wee bit too close to his manimal cage.

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