Washington Capitals Weekly Recap – Week Ending 3/27/16

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The Caps played three games this week: Ottawa Senators in Ottawa on Tuesday March 22, the New Jersey Devils in New Jersey on Friday March 25, and returned home to Verizon Center to play the St Louis Blues on March 26.

During the previous week, the Caps had clinched a playoff spot, with this week’s objective to clinch the division and conference. The “Magic Number” for clinching was down to two games versus both the Penguins and New York Rangers.

Capitals vs Ottawa Senators (March 22)
Following the rule of “score early and often”, the Capitals got three goals in the first period, by Mike Richards early in the game, a power play goal by Alex Ovechkin, and then a goal by Nicklas Backstrom.  Ottawa scored in both the second and third periods of the game, narrowing the score to 3-2, but then T.J. Oshie was able to get an empty net and the Caps won 4-2.  This meant the Capitals clinched the Metropolitan Division and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Capitals Goals
Period 1 – 02:32     Richards (2) – Assists by Wilson (15)
Period 1 – 12:22     Ovechkin (43) – Assists by Johansson (24), Backstrom (46) (PP)
Period 1 – 14:37     Backstrom (19) – Assists by Beagle (8), Chimera (18)
Period 3 – 19:47     Oshie (23) — Assists by Alzner (17), Winnik (11)

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Braden Holtby – 28 Saves in 30 Chances. 21 Saves in 23 Chances at Even Strength

Capitals vs New Jersey Devils (March 25)
Coming into the game, New Jersey had the proverbial “hot goalie” in Scott Wedgewood who had shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins the previous day and 39:34 minutes of shutout hockey prior to that.  This game was also notable for the return of Caps’ defenseman, John Carlson, who had been out since late February with an injury.  Wedgewood continued his hot goaltending.  But, fortunately for the Caps, Braden Holtby matched Wedgewood for not allowing any goals.  Hence, the game proceeded to Overtime.  John Carlson earned the winning goal just over two minutes into Overtime and the Caps won 1-0.  Holtby earned his 45th win and third shutout of the year.

Capitals Goals
Period 2 – 01:30 Williams (21) – Assists by Chimera (17)
OT Period – 01:38    Ovechkin (42) – Assists by Kuznetsov (50)

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Braden Holtby – 22 Saves in 22 Chances. 15 Saves in 15 Chances at Even Strength

Capitals vs St Louis Blues (March 26)
Going into this game, the Caps needed just one point to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy and top seed overall for the NHL playoffs this spring.  The St Louis Blues had shut out their opponents in their last three consecutive games, with Brian Elliott earning the shutouts.  However, since they had played on a back to back, they decided to leave Elliott at home and use Jake Allen in goal instead.  The game was scoreless after the first period.  But during the second period, the Blues scored 3 goals due to various defensive breakdowns by the Caps.  The Blues added another goal late in the third period.  The final score was 4-0.  Jake Allen continued the shutout streak for the Blues that had been started by Brian Elliott.   Since the Dallas Stars also won last night, the Caps were unable to clinch the Presidents’ Trophy.

Capitals Goals
None

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Philipp Grubauer – 25 Saves in 29 Chances. 24 Saves in 28 Chances at Even Strength

Overall
CaptureThis week was 2-1 overall, which was relatively consistent with their overall record.  They started the week by clinching their Division and Conference and will be top seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs.  They are now just one point shy of clinching the Presidents’ Trophy.  They won two games on the road but lost their only home game.

As an aggregate, they were outscored this week as they scored 5 goals and gave up 6, scoring 4 in one game and giving up 4 in another.

Goaltending wise, the Caps had a .926 save percentage, with 75 saves in 81 shot attempts.  They had 80 shots and the opposing goalies saved .938.   Braden Holtby had a great week in goal, having given up only two overall in his two games and had one shutout, to his credit.

Looking to the week ahead, the Caps play another game at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday March 28, then go on the road to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday March 30, the Colorado Avalanche on April 1 and the Arizona Coyotes on April 2.  The game against the Blue Jackets will be on a 7:00 p.m. E.D.T., the Flyers game, as it will be a “Rivalry Night” game, will be at 8:00 p.m., the Avalanche will be at 9:00 p.m., and the Coyotes will be at 10:00 p.m.  All games, except the Flyers game, will be televised on CSN while the Flyers will be on NBCSN.

The chances are excellent that the Caps will clinch the Presidents’ Trophy since just one point for them is needed to do that.

By Diane Doyle

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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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