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Caps Today, 10/11/17

October 11, 2017
Today’s Storyline

Nicklas Backstrom recorded his second multi-assist game in a row against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 9. That marked Backstrom's 127th multi-assist game since he entered the NHL in 2007-08, the second-most in the NHL during that frame, behind Henrik Sedin (132). Backstrom tallied 86 points (23g, 63a) in 82 games last season, ranking second in the NHL in assists and first in assists per 60 minutes (2.52). Backstrom's 86-point season was his third-highest point total of his career. The Gavle, Sweden native finished the season +17, his second-straight season with the mark and set a new career high in game-winning goals (5). In addition, Backstrom ranked second in the NHL in power play assists (27) and led the NHL in power play points (35). Since 2007-08, Backstrom ranks third in the NHL in assists (544), trailing Joe Thornton (559) and Sedin (553). 


Special Success - This season, the Capitals have killed 13 of their 14 penalties and scored on three of their nine power play opportunities. Last season, the Capitals tied for third in the NHL in power play percentage (23.1 percent) and seventh in the NHL in penalty kill percentage (83.8 percent), marking the second-straight year the Capitals have finished in the top ten in both respective categories. The Capitals' 106.98 average special teams index (power play percentage plus penalty kill percentage) over the last three seasons is the highest average in the NHL.

Familiar Foes - Brooks Orpik played in 703 games in 11 seasons with the Penguins. Drafted with Pittsburgh's 18th-overall pick in the 2000 draft, Orpik ranks first in Penguins' franchise history in games played by a defenseman and fourth in penalty minutes (734). Orpik recorded 132 points (13g, 119a) and won a Stanley Cup in 2009. In three games this season, Orpik is averaging 22:22 minutes per game, his highest average over the last six seasons. Matt Niskanen played in 214 games for the Penguins, recording 85 points (19g, 66a), including a career high 46 point season (10g, 36a) in 2013-14. Niskanen is third among all Capitals in ice time (23:44).

Holtbeast - In 159 career home games, Braden Holtby has posted a 103-35-13 record with a .926 save percentage and a 2.14 goals-against average, ranking first and fourth, respectively, among active goaltenders with 100 home games played. Additionally, Holtby has played in the second-most home games over the last three seasons (107) and ranks first in wins (73), five more wins than Pekka Rinne, who is second on the list with 68.

Osh Babe - T.J. Oshie has recorded three goals in his first three games, including a two-goal game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. That marked Oshie's 10th multi-goal game as a Capital. Both of Oshie's tallies against Tampa Bay came on the power play. It marked the first time in 594 games Oshie has scored two power play goals in one game. Last season, Oshie recorded seven power play goals. Oshie co-led the team in goals last season (33), becoming the first player other than Alex Ovechkin to lead the Capitals in goals since 2003-04 (Robert Lang: 29). Oshie was fifth on the team in points (56), first on the team in goals per game (1.63) and second on the team in points per game (2.77). Oshie's 33 goals set a new career high and marked the first time in his career that he reached the 30- goal mark. Oshie also became the first Capitals player to score 30 goals in a season since the 2009-10 season (Alex Semin: 40, Nicklas Backstrom: 33). Oshie scored on a NHL-leading 23.1 percent of his shots, finished seventh in the NHL in plus/minus (+28). The Capitals were 27-3-2 when Oshie earned a point last season.

Multi-Kuzy - Through three games, Evgeny Kuznetsov has eight assists, the highest mark in the NHL. Kuznetsov has recorded multiassist efforts in two games this season, including a four assist effort against the Montreal Canadiens. Since the 2015-16 season, Kuznetsov has 22 multi-assist games, tied for fifth in the NHL. Since making his debut on March 3, 2010, Kuznetsov has 189 points (53g, 136a) in 263 games.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Squander Two-Goal Lead in 4-3 OT Loss to Bolts / SKATE SHAVINGS: News and Notes From Caps' Morning Skate / Caps Host Pens / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Bolts 4, Caps 3 (OT)

Washington Capitals: Caps Prospects Eye NHL / Young Vets

Washington Post: Capitals’ penalty kill can only hold up for so long in overtime loss to Lightning / Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov has assisted on all seven of Alex Ovechkin’s goals / Alex Ovechkin named NHL’s ‘first star’ of the week after back-to-back hat tricks / Capitals’ first loss highlights defensive depth issues / Capitals hear echoes of Game 7 as Penguins visit Washington

NBC Sports Washington: Insider analysis: Capitals suffer first loss of the season despite Grubauer's heroics / The NHL's most underrated player keeps climbing in the Capitals' record books / Capitals' Alex Ovechkin named one of NHL's weekly stars after 7 goals in 2 games / After a rough night in Tampa, it is time to talk about the Capitals' third defensive pair / Game 4: Capitals vs. Penguins Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread Lightning defeat Capitals in overtime, hold Ovechkin scoreless / Ovechkin leads 3 Stars of the Week / Walker gets call from Australia's Prime Minister after historic NHL debut / 5 reasons to watch Penguins-Capitals

AP: Lightning rally past Capitals in overtime

CBS DC: Snyder: Ovechkin Needs To Keep Reminding Us

What's fueling Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin's hot start? It might be the sauce

National Post: Old man's league: Don't count Alex Ovechkin — or his generation of NHL stars — out just yet

Tampa Bay Times: Joe Smith's takeaways from Monday's Lightning-Capitals game

The Sun: Australian Nathan Walker becomes first Aussie ever in NHL

Yahoo Sports: What We Learned: What if Alex Ovechkin shoots like this all year? / Challenges for Penguins and Caps, Opportunity for Rangers: Metro in October

Japer’s Rink: Tuesday Caps Clips: Outdone in Overtime / Capitals vs. Lightning Recap: Penalties Killed but a Penalty Kills as Caps Fall 4-3 (OT) / Alex Ovechkin Named First Star of the Week / Wednesday Caps Clips: Capitals vs. Penguins Game Day


TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Caps Postgame | October 9 / WSH @ TBL / Barry Trotz Postgame | October 9 / Caps fall to Bolts in OT, 4-3 / Caps 365 | October 9 / Grubauer's series of saves / Grubauer denies Kucherov's chance / Oshie's second power-play tally / Oshie deflects in PPG / Backstrom opens the scoring / Grubauer stops Stralman's slapper / Caps Pregame Locker Room | Oct. 9 / Two-Man Advantage | October 9 / Barry Trotz Pregame | October 9 / Rinkside Update | Kuznetsov

NBC Sports Washington: Trotz talks about the Caps OT loss to Lightning / Backstrom scores in first period to give Caps a 1-0 lead / Re-live Alex Ovechkin's second hat trick of the season / Capitals' new first line look, explained / How Barry Trotz will utilize Tom Wilson when he returns


Penguins Clips:

City of Champions: Pittsburgh Penguins: Keys to Victory over Washington

ESPN: Stanley Cup champion Penguins visit Trump at White House Letang back to old self for Penguins after 'scary' injury

Tribune Live: Penguins prepare to face Capitals, red-hot Alex Ovechkin

Yahoo Sports: Challenges for Penguins and Caps, Opportunity for Rangers: Metro in October