Photo: Bruce Bennett
“If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net,” Brooks Laich said back in 2008.
Or, as the mantra goes ’round these parts: Crash the Net.
Many of the Caps recent goals have come as a result of net-crashing and net presence, but quantitatively proving that the Caps consistently have been putting more bodies around the net lately would take an immense amount of game tracking, plus a clear definition of what constitutes net-crashing and what doesn’t. To me, at least, it sure seems like the Caps are around the net more lately.
This much is clear: In the past seven games, at least one of the good guys has been creating traffic near the opposition’s goalie on eight of the Caps’ eighteen even strength, non-empty-net goals. In terms of non-rush goals, seven of the Caps twelve goals in this span have come with heavy net traffic.
Here’s a look at goals from two recent games when the Caps’ net presence was especially good on scoring plays.
Against Columbus on December 18th, the Caps second goal was scored on a nice passing play between Michael Latta and Jason Chimera. They both just so happened to be within a few feet of the crease.
Later that same game, Karl Alzner had all kinds of room to operate, thanks in large part to the Columbus defender being occupied by Chimera’s drive to the net.
Remember when Mike Green went into Superman mode on the game-tying goal against Columbus? Troy Brouwer scored as a result of a lucky bounce because he was crashing the net.
And then there was last Saturday night in Pittsburgh when Eric Fehr flexed his net-crashing muscle. Fehr’s first goal is a perfect example of how crashing the net can cause fortunate and random bounces that results in a goal.
Fehr then iced the game on a goal in which all three Caps’ forwards were around the blue paint.
The Caps have been winning a lot of games lately. While the pace of their recent hot streak isn’t sustainable, this is still a really good hockey team. It’s imperative that the Caps continue to crash the net if they hope to fulfill that potential throughout the season.
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