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Caps Today and Top Game Notes, 3/16/17

March 16, 2017
The Capitals face the Nashville Predators at Verizon Center tonight in the second and final meeting between the teams this season. Nicklas Backstrom earned three assists on Tuesday against Minnesota, including his 50th assist of the season. This season marks his fourth consecutive (2013-2017) and seventh career 50-assist season. Backstrom is the only player in the NHL to record 50 assists in each of the last four seasons and he ranks first in the NHL in 50-assist seasons since 2007-08 (7). In addition, Backstrom ranks first in franchise history in 50-assist seasons and is the 35th player in NHL history to record seven or more 50-assist seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Backstrom is the first player to record at least seven 50-assist seasons in his first 10 NHL seasons since Joe Sakic posted seven 50-assist seasons in his first 10 NHL campaigns (1988-98). Since he entered the NHL in 2007-08, Backstrom ranks third in the NHL in assists (527) and sixth in points (713). In addition, he ranks second among active NHL players (min. 200 GP) in career assists per game (0.73). Backstrom has earned 24 points in his last 20 games (1/31-3/14: 8g, 16a) and has recorded a point in 24 of his last 32 games (1/5-3/14: 12g, 29a). Backstrom ranks second in the NHL in assists this season (50) and sixth in points (71).

Media Note: Tonight’s game against Nashville marks the Capitals’ St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation will host a Go Green Auction, with all proceeds benefitting the Anacostia Watershed Society. The auction will feature autographed limited edition green jerseys worn during tonight’s pregame warmups. The auction also will feature autographed sticks wrapped with green tape and autographed pucks with green Caps logos. The auction will conclude at the end of the second intermission on Handbid. Auction items will be on display at the MSE Foundation table located on the main concourse at section 104 of Verizon Center.

Top Game Notes
Barry Good – Since Barry Trotz became head coach in 2014-15, the Capitals lead the NHL in wins (146), points (318), goals against per game (2.31) and power-play percentage (22.9) and rank second in goals per game (3.03) and tied for fourth in penalty kill percentage (83.4). In addition, Washington is 106-1-7 since 2014-15 when leading with 10 minutes left in regulation.

Home Sweet Home – The Capitals have posted a 28-6-1 record at home this season and have earned a point in 21 of their last 23 home games (12/5-3/14: 20-2-1). Washington leads the NHL in home wins this season (28) and sits two wins shy of tying the franchise record for wins at home in a season (1985-86, 2009-10: 30). In addition, the Capitals lead the NHL in goals against per game (1.69) at home this season and rank second in goals per game (3.46). Nicklas Backstrom leads the team and ranks second in the NHL with 45 points (13g, 32a) in 35 home games this season. Braden Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.78), wins (23) and shutouts (7) at home this season and ranks tied for second in save percentage (.931).

Holt-beast – Braden Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (2.03) and shutouts (8) this season, ranks third in wins (35) and fifth in save percentage (.926). Holtby is one of three goaltenders to rank in the top five in the NHL in wins, shutouts, goals-against average and save percentage this season (Sergei Bobrovsky, Devan Dubnyk). In addition, Holtby is one of four goaltenders to record 30 wins in each of the last three seasons (Dubnyk, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask) and is five wins shy of becoming the third goaltender in NHL history to record three consecutive 40-win seasons, joining Martin Brodeur (2005-08) and Evgeni Nabokov (2007-10). Since 2012-13, Holtby leads the NHL in wins (170) and shutouts (28).

On the Prowl – The Capitals have won nine of their last 14 games against the Predators (9-4-1), including five of their last six at home against Nashville (5-1-0). Nicklas Backstrom has earned 15 points (4g, 11a) in 14 career games against Nashville and Alex Ovechkin has recorded 13 points (9g, 4a) in 14 games against the Predators. In addition, Marcus Johansson has recorded 10 points (2g, 8a) in 10 career games against Nashville and Evgeny Kuznetsov has tallied six points (1g, 5a) in six games against the Predators.

Saint Nick – Nicklas Backstrom earned three assists on Tuesday against Minnesota, marking his third three-assist game of the season and 34th of his career. Since he entered the NHL in 2007-08, Backstrom leads the NHL in three-assist games (34). Backstrom also earned his 70th point of the season on Tuesday, marking his fourth consecutive (2013-17) and sixth career 70-point season. Backstrom is one of only two players in the NHL to earn 70-points in each of the last four seasons (Sidney Crosby) and he is the fourth player in franchise history to post six career 70-point seasons, joining Alex Ovechkin (9), Mike Gartner (8) and Peter Bondra (6). Backstrom has earned 24 points in his last 20 games (1/31-3/14: 8g, 16a) and has recorded a point in 24 of his last 32 games (1/5-3/14: 12g, 29a). Backstrom ranks second in the NHL in assists this season (50) and sixth in points (71).

Must Read/See/Hear Material
Dump n’ Chase: Caps Face Predators on Thursday / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 4, Wild 2 / Caps Tame Wild, 4-2
Monumental Sports Network: Caps Postgame Locker Room 3/14/17 / Barry Trotz Postgame 3/14/17
CSN Mid-Atlantic: Capitals’ Playoff Race Opponent Watch: A Suddenly Open Metro Race Changes Washington’s Playoff Scenario / Caps Fan From Scotland Gets to Live Out Dream By Seeing Team in PersonCaps’ Andre Burakovsky Rejoins Teammates, Eyes Returning to Game ActionPrediction Recaps: Capitals Find Their Offense in Win Over WildAlex Ovechkin Has a Vintage Performance on a Night When the Caps Needed One / Quite the Schmidtuation: Nate Schmidt’s Play May Force a Shakeup in the Caps’ Defensive Pairs / Caps Go Wild on Minnesota to Snap 4-Game Skid / 3 Bold Predictions: Caps Look to Tame the Wild / Capitals Kevin Shattenkirk Discusses the Play That Lead to His SuspensionAs Ovechkin Slumps Again, Trotz Gives Him Familiar Advice / Trotz Says Ovechkin Skating Very Well, Goals Will Come / Alan May’s Keys for the Capitals Coming Down the Stretch / For Caps President’s Trophy Doesn’t Matter, No. 1 Seed Does / 3.14.17 Rewind: Capitals End 4-Game Losing StreakTom Wilson: Caps Got a ‘Refresher’ Playing at Home / Sorenson Talks Capitals Win Over Minnesota / Nate Schmidt Recaps Caps’ 4-2 Win Over Wild  /  Nicklas Backstrom on What Changed for Caps in Win Over Wild / Capitals Fan From Scotland Reacts to Meeting Peter Bondra / Caps Fan From Scotland Enjoys Seeing Game in PersonAndre Burakovsky Nearing Return for CapitalsHow Much Concern Should There be About the Capitals? / Alzner Calls Losing Streak a ‘Rough Patch,’ Nothing More
Washington Post: Alex Ovechkin, Capitals get back on track in win over Minnesota / Capitals Insider: Kevin Shattenkirk back and Nate Schmidt shining, what happens to Brooks Orpik now? / Capitals Insider: Nate Schmidt makes his case to stay in Capitals lineup / Capitals Insider: Kevin Shattenkirk on suspension: ‘Unfortunately my hit checked off a few too many boxes’
Washington Times: Even in win, Capitals taking too many penalties
NHL.com: Playoff picture: Blue Jackets target top seed in East / Alex Ovechkin scores, Capitals defeat Wild / AHL Notebook: Calder Cup Playoff storylines
Associated Press: Capitals hope to continue momentum vs. Predators / Ovechkin ends goal drought, Capitals beat Wild to snap skid
CBS Sports: Playoff-o-Meter: Sizing up the NHL's top (and underrated) Stanley Cup contenders
ESPN: Losing streak, Alex Ovechkin's goal-less drought were a 'wake-up call' for Washington Capitals
Sports Illustrated: Capitals and Wild find lessons in matchup of skidding Cup contenders
WNST: Ovechkin and Backstrom Lead the Caps Over the Wild
WTTG-TV FOX 5: On the MSE Foundation and SuperFd Cooking With the Caps Cookbook Benefitting DC Central Kitchen
Caps Radio: Caps Talk for Wednesday, March 15th
Japers’ Rink: Thursday Caps Clips / Wednesday Caps Clips / Caps vs. Wild Recap: Ovechkin Resurrected, Caps Win 4-2

NASHVILLE PREDATORS CLIPS: 
NHL.com: Game Day: Preds at CapitalsWilson Showing Up in Regular Season and Playoffs / Another Season, Another 20 Goals for James Neal / Neal Scores OT Winner, Preds Beat Jets 5-4
The Tennessean: Predators' Colin Wilson ready to shed 'playoff' nicknamePredators' strengths, weaknesses on clear display / Preds top Jets in overtime
The Sports Xchange: James Neal goal in OT lifts Nashville Predators past Winnipeg Jets
Yahoo! Sports:  Neal's power-play goal in OT gives Predators win over Jets

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