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Caps Today, 12/16/17

December 16, 2017
The Capitals, riding a five-game home-winning streak, host the Anaheim Ducks at Capital One Arena tonight in the first of two meetings between the teams this season. The Capitals are 16-15-1-1 all-time against the Ducks and 8-8-1 at Capital One Arena.

Jakub Vrana is entering tonight’s game with 10 goals on the season, tied for the fourth-most among NHL rookies. Vrana, who is riding a two-game goal scoring streak, became the first Capitals rookie to reach the 10 goal mark since Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 11 in the 2014-15 season. Vrana is currently on a 25-goal pace over the course of a full regular season. The last Capitals rookie to reach the 20-goal mark was Alex Ovechkin in his 2005-06 rookie season, when he finished with 52. In total, the Capitals have had seven rookies reach the 20-goal mark, and only Ovechkin has reached the mark since the 1981-82 season, when both Bobby Carpenter (32) and Christopher Valentine (30) reached the milestone in their rookie seasons.

This Day in Capitals History:

Dec.16, 2003: Maxime Ouellet became the first Capitals goaltender to earn a shutout for his first career NHL win. In his Capitals debut, Ouellet made 37 saves in a 5-0 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Robert Lang led the way offensively with two goals and two assists. Additional info on the Caps history and behind-the-scenes stories can be found in '100 Things Capitals Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die'


Home Sweet Home - This season, the Capitals have recorded 13 wins at Capital One Arena, tied for the most in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning in total home wins and the Capitals are currently on a five game home winning streak. Additionally, the Capitals have scored 58 goals at home, good for fourth in the NHL and have allowed 40 goals, tied for the sixth-lowest total this season. Evgeny Kuznetsov's 20 points (6g, 14a) at home are tied for the 12th most in the NHL, while his 14 assists are tied for seventh. Braden Holtby is 11-4-0 at home this season with a 2.06 goals against average and a .935 save percentage.

Great Eight - Alex Ovechkin recorded an assist and a goal against the Boston Bruins on Dec. 14, passing Dave Taylor (1,069) for 63rd on the NHL's all-time points list. Ovechkin has recorded a point in four of his last six games (3g, 6a) and has 16 even-strength goals this season, which matches his total from the 2016-17 campaign.. Ovechkin's 35 points are tied with Evgeny Kuznetsov for the team and are tied for the 12th-most in the NHL through games played Dec. 14. Additionally, Ovechkin's 22 goals are tied for first the NHL (Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov) through games played Dec. 15. Since the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin has scored 580 of the Capitals' 2,940 goals (19.7 percent). That's the highest percentage of a single teams goals scored over a 13 period in NHL history. 

Duck Hunters - The Capitals have won five of their last seven games against the Ducks and have earned a point in 10 of their last 13 games against Anaheim (9-3-1). Alex Ovechkin has earned 21 points (9g, 12a) in 14 career games against Anaheim and the Capitals have posted an 8-2-0 record against the Ducks in games when Ovechkin earns a point. Nicklas Backstrom has recorded 16 points (5g, 11a) in 12 career games against the Ducks.

Quite the Stretch - Over the last 13 games, the Capitals are 10-3-0 and are one of only two teams (Los Angeles) with eight wins in their last 10 games, through games played Dec. 14. During the 10-3-0 stretch, which began Nov. 18 against the Minnesota Wild, the Capitals have 47 goals for and 31 against, which is tied for third and tied for seventh, respectively, in the NHL. The Capitals have scored at least four goals in five of their last six games and seven times over their last 13 games. Over the last 11 games, the Capitals have scored at least one goal in 30 of the 33 total periods.

Points for Everyone  - Over the Capitals' last four games, 16 of the 18 Capitals who have played have recorded a point. In total, 13 of the 16 players have recorded at least two points in the last four games. Matt Niskanen (2g, 2a) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (4a) lead the Capitals in points over the last four games. The Capitals are 3-1-0 during that span, outscoring their opponents 15 to 10.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 5, Bruins 3 / Caps Face Ducks in D.C.

Washington Post: T.J. Oshie expected to miss Saturday’s game against Anaheim / Devante Smith-Pelly has found his comfort level with the Capitals

NBC Sports Washington: Game 34: Capitals vs. Ducks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread / When will T.J. Oshie return to the Caps' lineup? / Bruins coach takes issue with Tom Wilson coming to the defense of Dmitry Orlov

AP: Vrana leads surging Capitals vs. Ducks (Dec 16, 2017)

CBS DC: Jay Beagle Jokes: Gotta Be A Team Player And Start Scoring More

NBC Sports: A deeper look into the Bruins’ 11-game losing streak against the Caps

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Barry Trotz | December 15

Ducks Clips:

Anaheim Calling: Ducks @ Blues MORNING THOUGHTS: Skating in a Winter Roy-derland / Ducks @ Blues RECAP: St. Louis Gets the Blues
LA Times: Ducks face another road challenge Saturday vs. Washington Capitals