The Caps Are Straight Dominating the NHL’s Leaderboard

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Photo: @capsfan74

On February 19th, 2015, let it be remembered that 59 games into the season, the Caps were straight pwning the NHL’s leaderboard. Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals (38) and Nicklas Backstrom leads the league in both assists (45) and points (63). Ovi is also third in the league in points and trails Backstrom by two.

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Nicklas Backstrom Nets Two as Caps Destroy Jets 5-1

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Photo: Patrick McDermott

[Editor’s note: With Peter in Florida, the lovely Emily Wright is handling the recap duties for us.]

The first period began with whatever the opposite of a ton of offensive firepower is called. At one point, the Caps were stuck in their own zone for 97 minutes, with Green and Hillen greying after every failed clear. While exhausting and a little bit scary, the Jets weren’t able to generate many chances, save Enstrom’s whizzing shot that made the post sing something between a B and a B flat.

The Caps went on the power play after a tripping call, and while most of us were waiting for Ovi to terrorize Winnipeg again, John Carlson had other ideas, and with some help from a Backstrom faceoff winner and Johansson’s screen, Troy Brouwer tipped the puck past the Jets netminder (or at least that’s what it looks like). 

As the period wore on, the home team began looking a little sharper. Karl Alzner, looking Alzner-y as ever, delivered a silken stretch pass to Ovi, who muscled the puck down ice, through Mark Stuart’s legs, catching Pavelec five hole. For those of you counting, it was Ovechkin’s 38th of the season. The selfish, enigmatic season.

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John Carlson Takes Puck Off the Side of the Head (GIF)

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Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson has been really good this year, so this is the last thing you want to see. As Carly tried to block Bryan Little’s shot, the puck ramped up off Carlson’s stick and struck him in the side of the head.

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It’s hard to imagine Alex Ovechkin won’t win his fourth MVP award this season. Tonight he scored another amazing goal.

With the puck bouncing on his stick, Ovechkin skated into the Jets’ zone on a two-on-one break. There was a problem however. Ovi couldn’t settle the puck enough for it to lay flat on the ice. No matter, Ovechkin managed to get a shot off– right through Mark Stuart’s legs.

Ondřej Pavelec had no chance.

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This is Definitely Not John Carlson’s Goal (GIF)

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In the first period, John Carlson scored on a point shot off a face-off. Or so we thought.

The puck took about a half-second to reach the net, but when the footage is slowed down, you can see two Caps forwards may have got their sticks on it.

As the puck passes Troy Brouwer, it definitely ramps up off his stick.

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Braden Holtby Could Have Been a Farmer

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Photo: Monumental Network

ESPN’s Scott Burnside traveled with the Washington Capitals to document the team’s recent annual fathers trip. The whole story is a great read, but my favorite snippet was about Braden Holtby.

Holtby’s father Greg, who was once a junior goaltender with the Saskatoon Blades, revealed that he hoped his son would someday take over the family’s farm. Instead of being the Holtbeast, Braden could have been the Holtcattleherder-- which doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Greg was, in Burnside’s words, “unfailingly supportive” of tiny Braden’s dream of being a NHL goaltender.

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Caps vs Jets Pregame: Ovi on Top

I thought a picture of Ovechkin laughing is appropriate right now.

The Capitals are finally home after their longest road trip of the season. The Caps took 6 out of 8 standings points on that trip. That smiling goof in the GIF above– he scored 8 points.

And yet the team still isn’t where want them. Holding onto a wild card spot is too humble. The Caps will play three of their next four at home and against three division teams. Now would be a good time to climb the standings.

Let’s start with the Winnipeg Jets, who aren’t really as bad as I have said. Puck drop at 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 31-17-10 52.0% 100.2 23.6% 81.0%
Winnipeg Jets 30-19-10 54.0% 100.0 18.3% 80.9%

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Tuesday’s win over the Pittsburgh Penguins meant that I had to miss one of my favorite television shows, Marvel’s Agent Carter. It’s a period piece set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America’s former best gal Peggy Carter battles spies and misogyny alike in post-war New York City to save… well, everything, I suppose.

It’s a good show with snappy writing and surprising emotional depth, and on Tuesday they sawed the leg off a guy named Ovechkin.

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Putin Watches Egypt Shred the Russian National Anthem

RMNB is only 10-percent actually Russian, but this is deeply unsettling to all of us. How “Nice Guy” Putin makes it through this sightread of the Russian anthem with a straight face, I will never know.

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Is Braden Holtby’s Workload a Problem?

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Braden Holtby has appeared in 49 of the Caps’ 58 games, which has him tied with Cory Schneider for the league lead among NHL goalies.  This puts him on pace to play in 69 games this season, a total that would be the fifth most all-time by a Caps’ goalie 

As the games get more meaningful down the stretch, Holtby’s workload isn’t going to decrease. Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post noted this before the Caps win over the Ducks on Sunday.

If Holtby sits just two times the rest of the way, he will finish the season with 71 appearances. Let’s split the difference between his pace and Alex’s higher estimate and say Holtby will end the season with 70 appearances. A heavy workload, for sure. Some Caps’ fans have expressed concern over Holtby’s regular season workload hindering his playoff performance.

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