The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!
Fresh off their 6-1 demolition of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena on Sunday night, the Washington Capitals head back to the road for a four-game western swing that starts with a contest against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Tuesday night.
After a three-game losing streak, the Caps head to the road with a four-game winning streak in their carry-on luggage. It is the second-longest streak in the league through Sunday’s games and the Caps’ longest of the season to date. The longest winning streak in the league belongs to the Caps’ opponent on Tuesday, the Anaheim Ducks, winners of seven straight after their 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
The Ducks have used their winning streak to crawl within a point of the Pacific Division-leading Edmonton Oilers and are tied for fifth in the league in standings points earned (21). Fifteen of 22 skaters have goals on the Ducks’ seven-game winning streak, and 21 of those 22 skaters have posted at least one point in this streak. Troy Terry leads the Ducks with seven goals on their win streak and is tied for the team lead in points (11). With those seven goals, Terry has already set a career high for goals in a season (11). A fifth-round pick (148th overall) in the 2015 Entry Draft, Terry has far outperformed his draft position, at least in goals scored, where he ranks tied for 34th in goals in his draft class to date (26). Terry had a bit of a slow start lighting the red lamp this season, going his first three games without a goal. But since then he has 11 goals in 12 games and has at least one goal in nine of those 12 games. Terry has four goals in his last six home games (five in all) and points in each of his last seven home games (5-3-8). He is 0-1-1, plus-2, in two career games against the Caps.
As one might expect for a team on a run, the defense has made its contributions. Six of the seven defensemen to dress over this seven-game win streak have points (Simon Benoit being the exception in the four games he played). Cam Fowler is the blue line points leader during the streak (1-6-7) and is second overall in points (2-10-12) for the season to date. Fowler will not turn 30 until the first week of December, but he is the grand old man in franchise history among defensemen. He is the all-time franchise leader in games (751), goals (74), assists (262), points (336), second in power play goals (28), second in power play points (131), first in shorthanded goals (four), tied for second in overtime goals (four), first in game-winning goals (16), first in total minutes played (17,197), first in Gimmick shot attempts (nine), and first in Gimmick goals scored (three). His career scoring is more the product of longevity than prolific production, but he does have eight-consecutive 20-point seasons and seems a good bet to make it nine in a row this season. Fowler is 0-8-8, minus-6, in 15 career games against Washington.
Goalie John Gibson, one of if not the best goaltender in Ducks history, was the subject of speculation as the regular season drew near. That was when the Ducks were looked at as a team in a transition phase from a struggling franchise to a competitive one. Well, the Ducks have been more than competitive this season, and Gibson has been a big part of that, going 8-2-2, 2.37, .924, with one shutout in 12 appearances. He has six of the seven wins on the Ducks’ current streak, going 6-0-0, 1.65, .943, with one shutout. Gibson, now in his ninth season in Anaheim, is third on the all time franchise list in games played (334), fourth in wins (156, but he seems likely to pass Guy Hebert (173) for second place before season’s end), seventh in goals against average (2.57; minimum: 1500 minutes), third in save percentage (.917), and third in shutouts (23). It would seem he isn’t going anywhere soon. Gibson is 1-3-2, 3.35, .896, against the Caps, his lone win being a shutout, a 36-save gem in a 4-0 Ducks win on March 6, 2018.
1. The Ducks have not been subtle about how they win games on this seven-game winning streak. They bludgeon opponents with offense and suffocate them with defense. They have outscored opponents, 30-11, over the seven-game streak, scoring four or more goals five times and holding opponents to one or no goals four times.
2. Anaheim is a top-ten team in scoring in each period this season – 16 firt period goals (tied for fourth), 17 second period goals (tied for sixth), and tied for first in third period goals (22).
3. Only Edmonton and Nashville have more wins when out-shot by opponents (seven and six, respectively) than Anaheim (five).
4. You would think a team with as good a record as the Ducks would be adept at holding leads when scoring first. However, they are tied for 18th in winning percentage when scoring first in games (6-3-1/.600).
5. Ditto in one goal-games, but the Ducks are just 2-3-3 in one goal games, their .250 winning percentage tied for 25th in the league.
1. The Caps rank 30th in the league in winning percentage in one-goal games (.143/1-2-4).
2. At the other end, the Caps are one of two teams in the league with a winning percentage of 1.000 in games decided by three or more goals (4-0).
3. The Capitals are tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals (three, with St. Louis and Colorado).
4. No team has more wins than the Caps when leading after one period (seven, tied with Calgary).
5. Only Florida and Calgary have more wins when scoring first in games (each with eight) than the Capitals (seven).
The Peerless’ Players to Ponder
Anaheim: Ryan Getzlaf
Ryan Getzlaf seems to have found the Fountain of Youth in southern California. Last season, he finished with 17 points in 48 games, a season in which he missed eight games to an assortment of upper and lower body injuries. But this season, he shot out of the gate, matching last year’s point total in just 16 games. His 1.06 points per game is his eighth season averaging more than point a game in his 17-year career. Given his recent history, it is quite a start. After going 15-58-73, plus 7, in 2016-2017, his goal totals slipped to 11, 14, 13, and five over the next four seasons (the last two in abbreviated schedules); his assists dipped to 50, 34, 29, and 12 last season. His power play goals dropped to 13. 10, 6, and 1 over the next four seasons. But for now, the player who among 764 skaters to dress this season is the 17th oldest of the group and 11th oldest among forwards, and who is the oldest skater on this year’s Ducks team by almost five years, is having a nice comeback start to the season. Getzlaf is 8-20-28, plus-6, in 20 career games against Washington.
Washington: Dmitry Orlov
John Carlson gets the ink and the star turn, while Dmitry Orlov is the strong, silent sidekick. They do not play on the same pairing, but they are effective within their own skill sets on different pairs. Orlov has been quietly climbing the rankings in a variety of categories in franchise history. Earlier this season he passed Ken Klee and Mike Green to take over tenth place in games played by a defenseman in Caps history (currently 582). If he stays healthy he will become the ninth defenseman to appear in 600 games for the Caps by the end of this calendar year. Though he is more a two-way defenseman than the offensive defenseman Carlson is, Orlov ranks tenth among defensemen in goals on the all-time Caps list (47). He is tenth in assists (162) and ninth in points (209). His 12 game-winning goals ranks eighth among Caps defensemen all-time, and his two overtime goals are tied for second on that list.
Since 1997-1998, when the league started keeping ice time statistics, Orlov ranks 15th among 58 defensemen to appear in at least 25 games in average ice time (19:53). Of 39 defensemen to have dressed for at least 25 games, when the league started capturing hits numbers, Orlov ranks 15th in Caps history in hits per 60 minutes (4.67), and his hip checks have become a signature item in his repertoire. He ranks second in that group in takeaways per 60 minutes (1.61), trailing only Nate Schmidt (1.64). This season Orlov is off to a solid start, going 2-5-7, plus-11, in 15 games. Both of his goals are game-winners, both on the road – one in a 4-1 win over New Jersey on October 21st, the other in 1 2-0 win over Detroit on Veterans Day. Orlov is 0-1-1, minus-4, in 12 career games against the Ducks.
In the end…
Since going 46-23-13 in 2016-2017, a .640 points percentage, eh Ducks have been in a downward spiral -- .616 the following season (44-25-13), .488 the next season (35-37-10), .472 in 2019-2020 (29-33-9), and .384 last season (17-30-9). This year, things are different, the Ducks’ .656 points percentage (9-4-3) tied with Toronto for night place in the league and fifth in the Western Conference. If the Caps treat the Ducks as if they were last year’s team, it could be a long night for the visitors. Play them as a competitive squad, and the Caps could do a lot better.
Capitals 5 – Ducks 4