Washington Capitals Weekly Recap – Week Ending 4/3/16

recap

The Caps played four games this week: Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday March 28 at home in Verizon Center, the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday March 30, the Colorado Avalanche in Colorado on Friday April 1 and the Arizona Coyotes on April 2.  On Monday, they clinched the Presidents’ Trophy by beating Columbus.

Capitals vs Columbus Blue Jackets (March 28)
In this game, the Caps actually scored first, which was something that had not customarily happened in recent games.   Justin Williams opened the scoring late in the first period.  However, a minute and a half later, Columbus scored a quick response goal on a defensive turnover by Dmitry Orlov.  The second period remained tied.  But the Caps struck again early in the third period when Tom Wilson scored.  They later added a power play goal by T.J. Oshie and an empty net goal by Nicklas Backstrom.  They won the game 4-1 and clinched the Presidents’ Trophy.

Capitals Goals
Period 1 – 16:30     Williams (22) – Assists by Carlson (26), Schmidt (14)
Period 3 – 03:46    Wilson (7) — Assists by Mike Richards (2), Daniel Winnik (12)
Period 3 – 14:26     Oshie (24) – Assists by Niskanen (25), Backstrom (47) (PPG)
Period 3 – 17:35      Backstrom (20) — Assists by Niskanen (26), Chimera (20) (EN)

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Braden Holtby – 21 Saves in 22 Chances. 20 Saves in 21 Chances at Even Strength

Capitals vs Philadelphia Flyers (March 30)
Due to the Flyers’ recent hot play, they had moved into the second wild card position so the game was a potential preview of Round 1 of the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.  This particular game was a defense and goaltenders’ duel and was scoreless throughout the first two periods.  The Caps got the first goal of the game early in the third on an Alex Ovechkin power play goal.  They were unable to add to their lead.  Marcus Johansson got a hooking penalty and the Flyers scored on the ensuing power play.  The game remained tied at 1-1 as it went into Overtime.  Despite getting a power play in the Overtime period, they could not convert then and lost the game in a shootout.  The game was not a very well officiated game as many offenses that should have been penalized were not being penalized so the players would take matters into their own hands and many coincidental roughing penalties would then be called.  Meanwhile, in the Overtime period, the officials would call penalties on relatively marginal offenses.

Capitals Goals
Period 3 – 01:28     Ovechkin (44) — Assists by Kuznetsov (54), Williams (29)

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Braden Holtby – 33 Saves in 34 Chances. 27 Saves in 27 Chances at Even Strength

Capitals vs Colorado Avalanche (April 1)
The Avalanche were in a position of needing to win to stay in the playoff race.  In this game, the Capitals dominated in shots during the first period, with 15 shots as compared to only 7 for the Avalanche.  However, the game was scoreless as Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov saved everything shot at him.  They finally scored near the middle of the second period when Jay Beagle got an unassisted goal.  They added a power play goal by Alex Ovechkin and another goal by Jason Chimera.  The score was now 3-0.  The Avalanche scored a power play goal with less than a minute before the end of the period, closing the score to 3-1.   Denver added another goal with just over five minutes to go to close the gap to 3-1.  The Caps finally scored an empty net goal by T.J. Oshie for a final score of 4-1.  The Capitals had dominated play during most of the game, outshooting the Avalanche 47 to 19.  However, Varlamov saved most of them.  In addition, the Caps hit several posts.  It was a game more lopsided than the final score.  Braden Holtby’s win, his 47th of the year, put him just one game behind the record of Martin Brodeur, which is 48

Capitals Goals
Period 2 – 08:50     Jay Beagle (8) – Unassisted
Period 2 – 12:57      Ovechkin (45) — Assists by Johansson (26), Kuznetsov (55) (PPG)
Period 2 – 14:16      Chimera (19) – Assists by Richards (3), Carlson (27)
Period 3 – 19:50      Oshie (25) — Assists by Winnik (13), Beagle (9) (EN)

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Braden Holtby – 17 Saves in 19 Chances. 2 Saves in 3 Chances at Even Strength

Capitals vs Phoenix Coyotes (April 2)
On the second night of back to back games, the Caps traveled to Arizona to play the Coyotes who were already out of the playoff picture.  Similar to the last two games, this game was scoreless after one period.  Like their game against Philadelphia, this game was also scoreless after two periods.  The Coyotes scored a goal just over five minutes into the period when Shane Doan scored, following up with another goal only 30 seconds later.  They added a third goal.  The final score was 3-0.  This was another game where the Caps had outshot the opponent but had nothing to show for it.

Capitals Goals
None

Capitals Goaltending Statistics
Philipp Grubauer – 24 Saves in 27 Chances. 20 Saves in 23 Chances at Even Strength

Overall
CaptureThis week was 2-1-1 overall, which was a mediocre week from a results standpoint.  They started the week by clinching the Presidents’ Trophy and will be the top seed for all rounds of the playoffs where they are still alive.   Scoring wise, the Caps had 9 goals as opposed to 8 for the opposition, with an extra point given to the opposition for the shootout loss.   Their goaltending save percentage was .931, reflecting a great week by Braden Holtby.  However, the opposing save percentage was .952.  It seemed like the Caps’ had encountered the proverbial “hot goalie” in three out of the last four contests and that the Caps’ own shot percentage was just 4.8%, which would be below league average.  This meant the Caps PDO (Save Percentage + Shot Percentage) was 97.9, below the expected 100.0.  Schedule-wise, this was a week where each of the games was played an hour later than the night before – at least from the standpoint of watching that game in the Washington D.C. area.  The Blue Jackets game was at 7:00 p.m. EDT.  The Flyers game, which was Wednesday Night Rivalry night was at 8:00 p.m. EDT.   The Avalanche game, in the Central Time zone, was at 9:00 p.m. EDT.  The Coyote game, in the Central Time Zone but no Daylight Savings Time, was at 10:00 p.m. EDT.

This was a week where the possession stats were generally great for the team, with Tom Wilson the only player on the team to be under 50% Corsi For.  He was also the lowest in Fenwick percentage with 50%.    It was, overall, a week where the team had great possession statistics but could not finish chances, either due to the opposing goaltender saving them, not taking enough good shots; etc..

Looking to the week ahead, the Caps play two games at home against the New York Islanders on Tuesday April 6 and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday April 8.  They travel to St Louis to play the St Louis Blues on Saturday April 10.  After that, they return home to play their last game of the season against the Anaheim Ducks, which is a makeup of the game that was cancelled due to a snowstorm that was originally scheduled for January 22.  The first two home games will be at 7:00 p.m. E.D.T., the Blues game will be at 8:00 pm E.D.T. while the Ducks game will be at 7:30 p.m.  All games will be televised on CSN.

By Diane Doyle

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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