Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway has been on a tear recently, scoring and producing offensively at a time when the Capitals are still without the likes of TJ Oshie, Nic Dowd, Lars Eller, and Nicklas Backstrom in the lineup.
Hathaway scored the Capitals’ two goals in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night, his fourth and fifth goals in his past four games. In those four games, Hathaway has two multi-goal contests. Additionally, Hathaway recorded six hits and ranks third in the league with 61 hits.
“I think that’s a big part of my game”, Hathaway said of his all-around play as of late, “I think there’s games where I can look back and say ‘Hey did I get the chances I wanted to, Did I create any offense, was I good in the D-zone?’, I think with my line, the lines I’ve been playing with. Once you’re fundamentally sound in the D-zone, the opportunities will come”.
Hathaway has been an integral part of the Caps’ fourth-line since signing with the team as a free agent in 2019 and his grittiness and defensive capability has made the line a useful one for Head Coach Peter Laviolette.
“I don’t think I was playing as well as I am now”, the Kennebunkport, Maine native admitted, “And whether that is the bounces going in or the extra stuff, that within the whistles that is trying to be hard to play against”.
During the Capitals’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks, Garrett Pilon became the fifth Capitals rookie to score his first NHL goal this season. With an early injury bug, the team’s young players have stepped up capably and Hathaway has seen time with a number of them at various points of this season.
“They belong here”, Hathaway said of the rookies’ play, “There’s no question about that they’ve been playing unbelievable. I remember when I came into the league, I wasn’t making the plays Ax [Axel Jonsson-Fjallby] is making”. On being a leader and the rookies’ energy, Hathaway said, “I think it’s kind of mutual. We’ve got those veteran guys that get energy from being leaders, from helping guys out and showing them the ropes and then it’s the other way around. They’re fresh, they’re eager, their legs are going”.
Head Coach Peter Laviolette complimented Hathaway’s strong play after the game against Los Angeles, saying:
“I thought Hath was playing well and you always get judged by goals it seems, but especially in the role he plays sometimes, that’s not necessarily the factor that determines it for me. But with the amount of offense that is out in the lineup right now, to have him contributing the way he is, is important. So I think he skates well, he handles the puck well, he shoots it hard, he goes to the net, goes to the hard areas, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t score goals so it’s nice to see him get rewarded for doing the work…It’s nice to see him get on the board and make a difference in a game”.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 18, 2021