Many players in the NHL have a team they seem to excel against. With superstars like captain Alex Ovechkin, center Nicklas Backstrom, and center Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Washington Capitals have plenty of players who seem to feast on certain teams. The same goes for certain players across the league whenever they face Ovechkin and company.
NoVa Caps looks at which teams Capitals players have had the most success against in their careers and what players seem to find the back of the net whenever the Capitals come up on the schedule.
Some notes: we are including current players who have faced the Capitals or other teams a minimum of seven times in their career and rank them by points-per-game average against the opponent since the Capitals play each Western Conference team only twice per season.
Players Who Have Found Success vs. Capitals In Their Career
F Mikko Rantanen – Colorado Avalanche
The 24-year-old has racked up five goals and 11 points in seven career games (1.57 ppg) against the Capitals and has three goals and five points during a three-game point streak against Washington.
C Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
The 33-year-old has collected 52 assists and 80 points in 58 career regular-season games (1.38 points per game) and 13 goals and 30 points in 25 career Stanley Cup Playoff games (1.2 ppg) against the Capitals. His teams have gone 3-1 in four postseason series against the Capitals.
C Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
What team does not have trouble containing this guy? In just eight career meetings against the Capitals, the 24-year-old has four goals, 11 points (1.375 ppg), and a +2 rating, including a one-goal, three-point effort in the two teams’ last meeting on October 24, 2019.
C Evgeni Malkin – Penguins
In 53 career regular-season games against the Capitals, the 34-year-old has recorded 23 goals and 69 points (1.3 ppg). In 24 career Stanley Cup Playoff games against them, he has seven goals and 21 points (0.875 ppg).
C Nathan MacKinnon – Avalanche
In 13 career games against the Capitals, the 25-year-old has scored six goals and 17 points (1.3 ppg) and has two goals and five points during a three-game point streak against them.
C Sebastian Aho – Hurricanes
The 23-year-old appears to light up against the Capitals whenever he sees them as he has tallied eight goals and 18 points in 16 career games against them (1.125 ppg). He recorded two goals and five points during the seven-game series in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs (0.7 ppg).
F Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
In 20 career regular-season games against Washington, the 27-year-old has earned 12 goals and 23 points (1.15 ppg). He fooled former Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby twice with the no-shot stick curl move on two breakaways, including once in the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. During the 2018 Eastern Conference Final, Kucherov posted one goal and five points in seven games (0.14 ppg).
F Artemi Panarin – New York Rangers
The 29-year-old has thrived whenever he has seen the Capitals wherever he has gone with 10 goals, 24 points, and a +9 rating in 21 career regular-season games against them (1.14 ppg). During the first-round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Panarin posted two goals and seven points in six games (1.17 ppg), including an overtime winner in Game 1.
F Jake Guentzel – Penguins
In 15 career regular-season games against the Capitals, the 26-year-old has posted seven goals and 16 points (1.1 ppg). In 13 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has eight goals and 13 points (1.0 ppg).
C Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
In 10 career regular-season games against the Capitals, the 23-year-old has five goals, 11 points, and a +3 rating (1.1 ppg). During the six-game first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Capitals and Maple Leafs, Matthews posted four goals and two assists in a four-game goal-scoring streak to close out the series (1.0 ppg).
C Joe Thornton – Maple Leafs
In 48 career games against the Capitals dating back to his time with the Boston Bruins, the 41-year-old has recorded 17 goals, 50 points, and a +8 rating (1.04 ppg).
F Joe Pavelski – Stars
In 21 career games against the Capitals, the 36-year-old has posted nine goals, 21 points, and a +7 rating (1.0 ppg).
F Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars
As the Stars have had the Capitals’ number in the past two and a half decades, it is no surprise to see their captain tear the Capitals apart. In 16 career games against the Capitals, the 31-year-old has earned seven goals, 16 points, and a +15 rating (1.0 ppg).
F Viktor Arvidsson – Nashville Predators
The Predators have owned the Capitals in the past six seasons, so it is expected that a Predator would pop up on the list. In 11 career games against the Capitals, the 28-year-old has earned six goals, 11 points, and a +7 rating (1.0 ppg), including an overtime winner in Washington on March 16, 2017, and a hat trick against them on January 15, 2019.
C Eric Staal – Montreal Canadiens
The 36-year-old has earned 32 goals and 76 points in 82 career regular-season games against the Capitals (0.93 ppg), whom he saw a lot of in his days with the Carolina Hurricanes as they and the Capitals were in the same division for each of Staal’s nine seasons in Raleigh.
F Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
The 29-year-old has recorded eight goals, 10 points, and a +7 rating in 11 career games against the Capitals (0.9 ppg).
F Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
In 50 career regular-season games against the Capitals, the 33-year-old has recorded 23 goals and 46 points (0.92 ppg) but recorded just one assist during the Flyers’ six-game first-round series loss to the Capitals in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs (0.167 ppg).
C Jeff Carter – Penguins
Dating back to his days with the Flyers, the 36-year-old has had success against the Capitals with 15 goals and 30 points in 34 games (0.88 ppg). He recorded three goals and four points during the Flyers’ seven-game series victory over the Capitals in the 2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (0.57 ppg).
F Jakub Voracek – Flyers
The 31-year-old has posted 15 goals and 37 points in 44 career regular-season games against the Capitals (0.84 ppg) and one goal during the Flyers’ six-game first-round series loss to them in 2016 (0.167 ppg).
F Warren Foegele – Hurricanes
In seven career regular-season games against the Capitals, the 25-year-old has tallied three goals and five points (0.7 ppg). He tallied four goals and six points during the seven-game 2019 first-round series between the Capitals and Hurricanes (0.85 ppg).
Capitals’ Players Who Have Had Success Against Other Teams
Not shockingly, the Capitals captain has averaged over a point per game against multiple teams. Nine, to be exact. An incredible number for an incredible player.
- 43 goals, 95 points in 81 games vs. Hurricanes
- 48 goals, 92 points in 67 games vs. Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers
- 48 goals, 91 points in 72 games vs. Lightning
- 39 goals, 82 points in 65 games vs. Florida Panthers
- 36 goals, 73 points in 65 games vs. New Jersey Devils
- 41 goals, 73 points in 50 games vs. Maple Leafs
- 40 goals, 61 points in 61 games vs. New York Islanders
- 18 goals, 31 points in 20 games vs. Blues
- 17 goals, 29 points in 17 games vs. Minnesota Wild
Backstrom, too, has averaged a remarkable point-per-game or better against nine teams.
- 46 assists, 61 points in 61 games vs. Hurricanes
- 18 assists, 20 points in 17 games vs. Wild
- 40 assists, 49 points in 46 games vs. Boston Bruins
- 42 assists, 54 points in 52 games vs. Islanders
- 41 assists, 62 points in 54 games vs. Flyers
- 49 assists, 60 points in 50 games vs. Penguins
- 48 assists, 62 points in 52 games vs. Lightning
- 36 assists, 45 points in 41 games vs. Maple Leafs
- 30 assists, 48 points in 48 games vs. Jets/Thrashers
Kuznetsov has averaged a point-per-game or better against five NHL clubs. Interestingly, they are all Western Conference opponents.
- two goals, eight points in five games vs. Vegas Golden Knights
- three goals, 14 points in 14 games vs. Detroit Red Wings
- five goals, 16 points in 10 games vs. Avalanche
- seven goals, 16 points in 13 games vs. Vancouver Canucks
- three goals, 13 points in 13 games vs. Predators
Oshie has dominated against Tampa Bay (1.43 ppg) and has also fared well against several other teams.
- 16 goals, 33 points, +17 rating in 23 games vs. Lightning
- five goals, 21 points, +13 rating in 20 games vs. Maple Leafs
- eight goals, 32 points in 40 games vs. Chicago Blackhawks
- 12 goals, 26 points in 32 games vs. Stars
- nine goals, 28 points in 31 games vs. Avalanche
- 14 goals, 30 points in 31 games vs. Islanders
- 15 goals, 33 points, +16 rating in 35 games vs. Penguins
- nine goals, 24 points in 31 games vs. Canucks
The newest Capital has a point-per-game or better average against three Western Conference opponents and has fared well against some Eastern Conference teams as well.
- five goals, 11 points in seven games vs. Calgary Flames
- seven goals, 10 points in 10 games vs. Stars
- four goals, eight points in eight games vs. Wild
- five goals, 15 points in 19 games vs. Lightning
- six goals, 11 points in 13 games vs. Bruins
- four goals, 12 points in 16 games vs. Sabres
- five goals, seven points in eight games vs. Islanders
Wilson hasn’t averaged better than a point-per-game against any opponent, but he has done pretty well against Chicago, averaging 0.77 points per game against the Blackhawks.
- six goals, 10 points in 13 games vs. Blackhawks
As a defenseman, Carlson has put up some big points against several teams, including some division rivals but hasn’t cracked a point-per-game average against anyone.
- three goals, 14 points in 15 games vs. Anaheim Ducks
- three goals, 11 points in 15 games vs. Blackhawks
- one goal, 13 points in 15 games vs. Oilers
- seven goals, 36 points, +33 rating in 47 games vs. Devils
- eight goals, 31 points in 43 games vs. Islanders
- six goals, 31 points in 42 games vs. Rangers
By Harrison Brown