The Washington Capitals are quickly approaching the Christmas break, and they are on a roll in the middle of December. The Capitals have won their last 3 games, and have claimed victory in 8 of their last 10 games. The defending Stanley Cup Champions currently lead the Metropolitan Division race, as they have a 5-point lead on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
When the Capitals won the Stanley Cup last June, their depth was showcased in a big way on their magical run. With a roster that sustained only minor tweaks since, the Capitals depth is showing once again all through the roster.
4TH LINE DOMINANCE
The Capitals are winning games, and are getting contributions from everywhere in their lineup. Most importantly, the Capitals are getting some goal support from their fourth line.
Listed below is what the Capitals fourth line has produced in the last five games:
Dmitrij Jaskin: 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points
Nic Dowd: 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points
Travis Boyd: 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points
4TH LINERS PROVIDE DIFFERENT ELEMENTS
Dmitrij Jaskin came to the Capitals on October 2 via waivers. The former St. Louis Blues forward was brought into the organization to give the Capitals a physical presence and some penalty killing experience in the absence of Tom Wilson.
Nic Dowd was signed by the Capitals as a free agent on July 1. The journeyman centre previously played for the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings. He was brought into the organization for his ability to win faceoffs and strong board play.
Travis Boyd is a homegrown talent and has showcased his ability with tremendous speed on the ice. He has worked his way through the Capitals organization. Drafted in the sixth round in the 2011 NHL Draft, Boyd’s journey to the NHL has been lengthy, but he has earned a spot on the Capitals roster. Boyd recorded his first NHL goal on December 8 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
THE CONTRIBUTIONS ARE SOMETIMES OVERLOOKED, BUT STILL BIG
A typical NHL fourth line today averages around 10 minutes of icetime per game. The Capitals fourth line has become a strength over the last couple of seasons.
When a fourth line can contribute goals every now and then, it takes the pressure off of the stars to score in every game. While the Capitals have plenty of star power, the Capitals have the option to roll all four of the lines. With four lines that can continually roll, it keeps each line fresher throughout the grueling 82-game grind.
It is important for each club to not overplay players. The clubs that can roll all four lines tend to have the most success, especially in the postseason. The Capitals fourth line is contributing in various ways right now, and that will help keep the team morale high as the games get tougher down the stretch. The Capitals have the aspiration to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. If the fourth line can continue to keep the momentum going, the Capitals will be in a very good spot when Spring comes around.
By: George Foussekis