After losing consecutive games in less than impressive fashion, the Capitals responded with a strong showing against the Wild Tuesday night in St. Paul. Dmitry Orlov would take top honors with a pair of goals and an assist and Pheonix Copley turned in another solid game in the Caps 5-2 win. The Capitals are right back at it Wednesday night when they face the high-flying Jets in Winnipeg. Puck drop is 8:00 PM.
The day started with the big news that an independent arbiter reduced Tom Wilson’s suspension to 14 games, thus allowing Wilson to play in Tuesday night’s game against the Wild. As a result, the Caps bench boss quickly restored the top line of Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Wilson. Vrana-Backstrom-Oshie were badk on the second line. Burakovsky-Eller-Connolly madeup the third line, with Stephenson-Boyd-Smith-Pelly making up the 4th line. With a back-to-back set in store for the Caps (Winnipeg on Wednesday night), Reirden decided to give Pheonix Copley the start in goal for the first game.
The Capitals would get things started with a blistering wrister by Dmitry Orlov early in the first frame. Tom Wilson would add to the Caps lead in the final minute of the period to give the Caps a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Andre Burakovsky would score his second goal of the season to make it 3-0 early in the middle frame. The Wild would get one back to make it 3-1 at the second break. Dmitry Orlov would score his second of the game on a break away to increase the Caps lead to 4-1. T.J. Oshie would make it 5-1 midway through the final frame. The Wild would score a power play goal late in the final frame
Our complete game recap can be found here. The NHL box score can be found here. Stats provided by Natural Stat Trick are here.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (POSSESSION)
The Caps led 2-0 after one period. The Wild out-attempted the Caps 15-12, but the Caps led 12-6 in shots on goal (SOG) after 20 minutes of play. The Capitals led in shot attempts 19-14 and 15-8 in SOG in the middle frame. Trailing in the final frame, the Wild turned up the shots, leading 13-8 in shot attempts and 14-6 in SOG. The Capitals would win this game in the second period.
SHOT ATTEMPTS (DIFFERENTIAL)
SHOT ATTEMPTS (LOCATION)
Pheonix Copley had another solid game Tuesday night in St. Paul. Copley stoped 26 of 28 shots he faced for a .927 save percentage. Copley left several juicy rebounds, but none of them would make a difference on the scoreboard. Devan Dubnyk stopped 28 of 33 shots for a .848 save percentage.
It’s no secret that the penalty kill has been the Capitals Achilles heel in the last two games. Coming into the game against the Wild, the Capitals were 29th in the league in penalty kill with a 71.7% success rate. The Wild were 16th in the league in power plays at 18.2%. The Capitals penalty kill was much better in this game, with the addition of Tom Wilson, as the Wild went 1 for 6 on the man advantage.
Entering the game, the Capitals had the league’s second best power play at a 31.5% conversion rate. The Wild had the league’s 4th best penalty kill at 85.2%. The Capitals would go 0 for 2 on the man advantage for the game.
The Capitals won the faceoff battle 51-49%. Brett Connolly was 0 for 1, Nicklas Backstrom 9 of 16 (56%), Lars Eller 11 of 19 (58%), Devante Smith-Pelly 1 for 2, Travis Boyd 0 for 2 and Evgeny Kuznetov 6 for 13 (46%).
My focus is a little different than others… I am closely watching the development of Bowey, Copley, Boyd and Chandler
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