Photo by Geoff Burke/NHLI via Getty Images
The Capitals got a huge two points against the Devils, primarily because of the offense they were getting from their defense. The Capitals’ defense combined for three goals and three assists to lead the Capitals’ to a 5-2 win to retake the Metropolitan Division lead.
Christian Djoos, John Carlson, and Matt Niskanen tallied goals in the Capitals’ win over the Devils, marking all they would need to prevail on Saturday night.
On the Djoos and Niskanen goals, they each drove to the net to jump into the play for an easy slam dunk. On Carlson’s tally, he pinched in to a quiet area on the power play to get into the action and put one top shelf past Devils’ goaltender Corey Schnieder.
The Capitals have gotten a combined 79 points from their defense, including 64 over the past 30 games. The Capitals defenseman have averaged 2.13 points per game over that stretch after starting the year with an average of 1.5 points per game. A majority of the early offense came from Christian Djoos, who was the only defenseman to score a goal in the first 10 games, notching a pair of tallies in addition to an assist.
Last season, the Capitals’ defenseman combined 143 assists, the second-most in the NHL, and 172 points, the fifth most in the NHL. The 143 assists last season were seven short of the Capitals’ record that was set in the 2014-15 season.
At the rate that they’re going, the Capitals’ defenseman will finish with 175 points, three better than last season.
John Carlson leads Capitals’ defensemen with 31 points thru 40 games, which is good for a 64 point pace over a full 82 game season. Carlson is also second on the Capitals with 114 shots and is third with 13 power play points. His 26 assists rank second in the league and he has tallied in 23 out of 40 games this season. For every game he records a point, he averages 1.35 points per game.
Dmitry Orlov may have been quiet for parts of the season but he is on pace to tie his career high with eight goals.
Three Capitals defenseman recorded points on Saturday with Djoos and Carlson each having four shots on goal. 12 of the Capitals’ 35 shots came from their blueliners against the Devils. Five Capitals’ defenseman have scored goals this season, with Madison Bowey (8 assists) and Brooks Orpik (5 assists) having yet to score this season.
The Capitals defense have combined to score 14 of the 123 Capitals goals this season, good for 11.38% of the team’s production. The offense is currently tied with the Nashville Predators for fifth in the league in goals for, with the defense playing a big role in producing offense.
The Capitals defense is chipping in to make up for the combined 68 goals that walked away in the summer but it has to continue to produce. But right now, the Capitals’ defense is stepping up its offensive firepower.
O from the D:
- Bowey: 8 assists in 32 games
- Carlson: 5 goals and 26 assists in 40 games
- Chorney: 1 goal and 2 assists in 22 games
- Djoos: 3 goals and 5 assists in 31 games
- Niskanen: 3 goals and 8 assists in 27 games
- Orlov: 4 goals and 8 assists in 40 games
- Orpik: 5 assists in 40 games
By Harrison Brown