The Washington Capitals have compiled a 10-0-2 record against the Pittsburgh Penguins over the last three regular seasons. It is the longest streak of games with points earned by a team in this series since the Caps went 15-0-1 from October 1983 to November 1985. What is more, in the 12-game streak the Caps have not lost to Pittsburgh in the hockey portion of either extra time games they lost, falling as a result of Bettman’s Miracle, once in March 2009 and again last December. Some other things of interest (well, to Caps fans) about the streak…
-- The Caps have outscored the Penguins, 47-27, over the 12 games.
-- The Caps’ power play is 12/40 (30.0 percent).
-- The penalty kill is 84.2 percent (48 for 57).
-- Doing the arithmetic, the Penguins have enjoyed 17 more power play opportunities than have the Caps in the 12 games…conspiracy theorists, have a blast.
-- The Caps do have three shorthanded goals, so there is that.
-- 16 different skaters have goals for the Caps in the streak, including five players no longer with the club: Tomas Fleischmann (four), Shaone Morrisonn (one), Sergei Fedorov (one), Michael Nylander (one), and Viktor Kozlov (one).
-- 26 different players have points, including eight no longer with the team: the aforementioned five plus Brendan Morrison, Eric Belanger, and Quintin Laing.
-- Although one might have the impression that the shot totals favored Pittsburgh heavily, the shots are almost the same over the 12 games – 380 for Washington, 375 for Pittsburgh; each team had the higher number of shots on goal in six of the games.
-- The Caps have held the Penguins to three goals or fewer in 11 of the 12 games.
-- They have scored four or more in six of the games and won by a 6-3 margin in three of them.
-- The Caps’ scoring over the 12 games looks like this:
An interesting fact… of Alex Ovechkin’s 13 goals against the Penguins in this streak, only one was a game-winning goal – last night’s rocket in the 1-0 win. Of his 13 goals, six have come on the power play, and two were empty net goals.
Mike Knuble almost deserves his own section. OK, he does deserve his own section…
-- Knuble continued his career as a Penguin killer – seven goals in the 12 games, and he only played in the last eight of them (he played for the Flyers in the 2008-2009 season).
-- Seven of the 43 goals Mike Knuble has scored as a Cap have come at the expense of the black and Vegas gold.
-- There is a “Mario-like” quality to his goal scoring performance. Among his seven goals he had three even-strength goals, two power play tallies, a shorthanded goal, and an empty netter. Nope…no penalty shots, but he does have a shootout goal.
-- Last night was the first time in his career as a Cap that he did not record a goal against Pittsburgh; he had single-goal performances in each of the previous seven games of this series.
The Caps have ten wins in this points-earned streak. Nine of the wins came in the hockey portion of the show (one came via The Gimmick). In the nine wins the Caps had eight different game-winning goal scorers: Sergei Fedorov, Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley, Mike Knuble (Knuble also had the winner in the lone Caps Gimmick win), Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr, and Tomas Fleischmann (twice). They have spread things around.
It has not been often over the last two decades that a Caps fan can think of the rivalry with the Penguins in terms of dominance on the part of the Caps. Even if it is “only” the regular season (there being that pesky nonsense of the Penguins winning all but one playoff series between the clubs), it’s nice to look back on the last 12 games of this series and think, as a Caps fan…