While Alex Ovechkin continues to defy conventional wisdom (and Father Time), the fact remains that the current version of your Washington Capitals is clearly built to win now.
Along with The Great 8, guys like Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson are established veterans who are much closer to the end of their playing days than the beginning.
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette and general manager Brian MacLellan obviously know this, and realistically, should be pleased with what they’ve seen from the bulk of the roster during the current campaign.
That said, while Washington’s offense has done the bulk of the heavy lifting and the defense has been steady and solid, the team’s biggest question mark is at goalie.
Neither Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek has done enough during their time with the franchise to stake their claim as a long-term solution. Which is why Laviolette turned to Zach Fucale as the Boston Bruins came to town for a rematch of last year’s disappointing playoff series.
Fucale is a 26-year-old netminder who got the call-up from Hershey and promptly recorded a shutout in his NHL debut back in November. In his next two appearances, Fucale was equally impressive and featured a 0.42 goals against average and .980 save percentage prior to his first-career home start.
Sadly, the good times did not continue against Boston, as the 2013 second round pick was waxed by the resurgent Bruins — allowing four goals on 16 shots before his night was ended midway through the second period.
Conventional wisdom suggests you should never get too high or too low after a particular outing, but nights like this are a harsh reminder that if the Capitals are going to avoid a hasty elimination in the postseason for a fourth-consecutive season, they’re going to need someone to step up and solidify the goaltending situation. Whether that someone is currently on the roster or not remains to be seen.