Friday, April 03, 2015

Down the Home Stretch -- April 3 Update

We are getting down to the end of it, and while the differences between the teams aren't shrinking, the games left are.  Good news for the Caps; bad news for the Senators.

(green denotes playoff-eligible):

A TWO-Point Night -- Game 78: Capitals 5 - Canadiens 4 (OT/Gimmick)

We encountered some technical difficulties this morning that rendered us unable to post our usual summary of the Caps (Cheerless was whittling a new keyboard for himself, lost his grip on the knife, and whipped the knife right into the circuit breaker box, cutting off all the power).  By now you have probably digested last night's thrilling trick shot win over the Canadiens, but maybe you'd like some tidbits to snack on this afternoon...

-- Alex Ovechkin’s two goals gave him 52 for the season, breaking the franchise mark of 472 held by Peter Bondra.  The 52 goals ties him fifth place in franchise history for most goals in a season (a place he occupies with Bondra, who did it twice, and himself, achieved in his rookie season of 2005-2006).

-- Ovechkin’s two power play goals broke a tie with Ray Bourque for 28th place all time in that category.  He is now tied with Jarome Iginla in 27th place with 175 career power play goals.

-- A hat trick of Ovechkin facts.  The two goals made it his 100the career multi-goal game.  Since he came into the league in 2005-2006, no one has more.  No one is within 30 games of him (Jarome Iginla: 66).  Fifteen of those multi-goal games have come this season, almost twice as many as his closes pursuers (Joe Pavelski, Tyler Seguin: 8)

-- John Carlson had three assists, giving him 40 on the season.  It is the 22nd time in franchise history that a defenseman reached the 40-assist mark, and he is the 11th defenseman to do it for the Caps. 
It was the first time Carlson recorded three assists in a game since posting three helpers on December 5, 2011 in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers.

-- Joel Ward had his second two-goal game of the season, the first one coming on October 25th against Calgary.  Both of his two-goal games have come on the road.  Ward has five multi-goal games with the Caps, four of them coming on the road.

-- Braden Holtby’s assist on Ovechkin’s first goal was his second assist of the season.  No, it’s not a record.  Olaf Kolzig had three assists in consecutive seasons (2005-2006 and 2006-2007); Jose Theodore had three assists in 2008-2009.

-- Each team had more faceoffs than shot attempts. While sharing a total of 75 draws, the Caps had only 49 shot attempts, while the Canadiens had 65 shot attempts.  The Caps blocked 30 shots, 23 of them by the defense, led by Matt Niskanen with six.

-- OK, another Ovechkin fact…he now has 35 goals in 41 games in the 2015 portion of the season.  For the mathematically challenged, that is a 70-goal pace over half a season.

-- Michael Latta played only one shift after the 10:42 mark of the second period.  Ditto, Tom Wilson

-- Carlson’s 26:48 in ice time was a season high for him, eclipsing the 26”16 he skated in a 4-3 Gimmick win over Buffalo on March 16th.

-- Barry Trotz became the 13th coach in NHL history to win 600 regular season games in his coaching career.   Among active coaches, only Joel Quenneville (753), Ken Hitchcock (704), and Lindy Ruff (648) have more.

In the end…

The goals from Ovechkin are nice, but a 7-2-0 record in the Caps’ last nine games is better.  Better still is jumping into second place in the Metropolitan Division (they hold a tie-breaker over the Islanders, more points won in head-to-head games).  The win in Montreal sets up Saturday’s game against Ottawa as a potential playoff-clinching game for the Caps, and in so doing could all but dash the dimming hopes of the Senators for a playoff spot.  Now THAT’S must-see TV.