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Caps Today and Top Game Notes, 3/18/17

March 18, 2017
The Capitals face the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Amalie Arena. The Capitals have earned a point in seven consecutive games against the Lightning (6-0-1) and in 13 of their last 14 games (11-1-2). In addition, Washington has earned a point in five of its last six games on the road at Tampa Bay (4-1-1).

Alex Ovechkin has earned 82 points (41g, 41a) in 62 career games against the Lightning, marking the second-most points he has earned against an NHL franchise (Atlanta/Winnipeg: 88). Ovechkin ranks tied for first in NHL history in goals scored against Tampa Bay (Peter Bondra: 41), second in points (Jaromir Jagr: 83) and third in assists (Jagr: 47, Daniel Alfredsson: 46). Nicklas Backstrom has earned 48 points (10g, 38a) in 43 career games against the Lightning, marking the third-most points he has earned against an NHL team (Carolina: 53, Philadelphia: 49). Backstrom has recorded 20 points (5g, 15a) in his last 14 games against Tampa Bay and has earned a point in 12 of those 14 games. Braden Holtby has posted an 8-2-2 record against the Lightning in his career with two shutouts. 

Top Game Notes
Feeling Conn-fident – Brett Connolly scored a goal on Thursday against Nashville, marking his career-high 15th goal of the season. The Campbell River, B.C., native has earned 21 points (15g, 6a) in 56 games this season and is four points shy of tying his career high in points (2015-16: 25). Connolly has scored 15 goals on 73 shots this season and ranks fifth in the NHL in shooting percentage (20.5). In addition, Washington is 15-1-2 this season in games when Connolly records a point. He is the seventh Capitals player to score 15 or more goals this season (Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Justin Williams), tied for the most in the NHL.

Torching Tampa – Alex Ovechkin has earned 82 points (41g, 41a) in 62 career games against the Lightning, marking the second-most points he has earned against an NHL franchise (Atlanta/Winnipeg: 88). Ovechkin ranks tied for first in NHL history in goals (Peter Bondra: 41) and second in points (Jaromir Jagr: 83) earned against Tampa Bay and ranks third in assists (Jagr: 47, Daniel Alfredsson: 46). The Moscow native has recorded 25 multi-point games in his career against the Lightning, marking the second-most multi-point games he has earned against an NHL team (Atlanta/Winnipeg: 30) and has registered nine multi-goal games against Tampa Bay, marking the second-most he has earned against an NHL franchise (Atlanta/Winnipeg: 11). Ovechkin has earned 20 points in his last 13 games against Tampa Bay (13g, 7a).

Holt-beast – Braden Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (2.03) and shutouts (8) this season, ranks tied for 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).

Saint Nick – Nicklas Backstrom ranks tied for second in the NHL in assists this season (50) and sixth in points (71). He has earned 24 points in his last 21 games (1/31-3/16: 8g, 16a) and has recorded a point in 24 of his last 33 games (1/5-3/16: 12g, 29a). Backstrom earned his 70th point of the season on Tuesday against Minnesota, 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).

Attacking the Atlantic – The Capitals are 15-3-2 against the Atlantic Division this season and have earned a point in 53 of their last 61 games against Atlantic Division foes dating back to the 2014-15 season (12/9/14-2/18/17: 48-8-5). Nicklas Backstrom leads the Capitals and ranks tied for seventh in the NHL with 21 points (8g, 13a) in 20 games against the Atlantic Division this season. Braden Holtby has posted a 40-4-5 record in his last 52 games against Atlantic Division opponents (12/9/14-2/18/17) with seven shutouts, a 1.79 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.

Must Read/See/Hear Material
Dump n’ Chase: Caps Take a Trip to Tampa / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Preds 2, Caps 1 (OT)
Monumental Sports Network: Barry Trotz 3/17/17 / Rinkside Update: Kevin Shattenkirk 3/17/17 / Lars Eller 3/17/17
CSN Mid-Atlantic: Penn Quarter Q&A: Will the Return of Andre Burakovsky Provide a Boost to the Caps? / Tom Wilson Gets Sore Hands, but Avoids Injury After Fight with Nashville’s Austin Watson / Andre Burakovsky is Officially Back for the Caps / Justin Williams Gives Bobblehead Concession Speech / Caps Demote Vrana on Friday as Burakovsky Returns to Practice / Prediction Recap: Caps Lose Five Out of Six / Cooking with the Caps: Jill Tries Haley Chorney’s Stickey Buns / Scottish Fan Travels to See Capitals Play for First Time / Between the Pipes: Brent Johnson on Importance of Movement
Washington Post:   After missing 15 games, Andre Burakovsky will play on Saturday / Capitals Insider: The best way to avoid injuries while blocking shots: Hope. / Capitals Insider: With Jakub Vrana reassigned to AHL, signs point to Andre Burakovsky’s return Andre Burakovsky set for Capitals return / Tom Wilson still bitter over bobblehead election loss
TSN: TSN Hockey's Top 10 Storylines of the Week
WUSA9: Capitals' Young Gun: Andre Burakovsky
Japers’ Rink: Saturday Caps Clips

Associated Press: Injured Lightning face tall task vs. visiting Capitals Lightning overwhelmed by Maple Leafs in 2nd period as win streak ends  Stamkos progressing, won't return until '100 percent' / Steven Stamkos practices in full for LightningMishkin: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0 /  Burns: 3 Things from a shutout loss to Toronto
Tampa Bay Times:  Steven Stamkos on first full Lightning team practice since surgery: 'It was a start' /  Lightning suffers ugly, costly loss to Maple Leafs /  Lightning journal: Vasilevskiy pulled, teammates quick to take blame