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Caps Today, 3/10/18

March 10, 2018
The Capitals face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center today in the second and final meeting between the teams this season. The Capitals won the most recent matchup against the Sharks 4-1 on Dec. 4 at Capital One Arena.

In his last 22 appearances, which dates back to his 36-save effort against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 29, Philipp Grubauer is 8-6-2 with a 1.93 goals against average and a .936 save percentage, which is the lowest goals against average and the highest save percentage among goaltenders with at least 16 appearances during that time frame. Additionally, Grubauer's .950 save percentage at even strength during that time frame ranks first among goaltenders with at least four appearances since Oct. 29. In his last five appearances, Grubauer has stopped 108 of the 113 shots he's faced (.956 save percentage) In 92 career games with the Capitals, Grubauer has a 2.28 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.

This Day in Capitals History

March 10, 1979: Tom Rowe had a first-period hat-trick and finished with four goals and two assists as the Capitals beat the St. Louis Blues 7-5 at the Capital Centre. Rowe’s second goal of the game was his 27th of the season which established a then NHL-record for most goals by an American in a single campaign. Rowe finished the 1978-79 season with 31 goals and 61 points in 69 games. 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'


Search for 600 - Alex Ovechkin is leading the NHL with 40 goals this season. Ovechkin's 40th goal, scored on March 3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, marked the ninth time in Ovechkin’s career he reached the 40-goal mark, becoming the sixth player in NHL history with at least nine 40-goal seasons (Wayne Gretzky: 12; Mario Lemieux: 10; Marcel Dionne: 10; Mike Gartner: 9; Mike Bossy: 9). Ovechkin also became the first player to reach the 40-goal mark this season, the seventh time in his career he became the first player to reach the milestone, setting a new record. Ovechkin sits at 598 career, and if he scores two goals within his next 11 games, he would become the fourth player in NHL history to record 600 career goals in under 1,000 games (Gretzky: 718 games; Lemieux: 719 games; Brett Hull: 900 games, per Elias Sports Bureau). In addition, Ovechkin would become the NHL's first player to join the 600 goals club since Jarome Iginla on Jan. 4, 2016 (1,432nd career game) and the only player to make his NHL debut after the 1996-97 season. Ovechkin made his NHL debut on Oct. 5, 2005. Ovechkin is also on pace for 88 points this season, which would be his highest total since the 2009-10 season (109 points, 50g, 59a). Additionally, it would be the first time he's averaged over a point per game in a season since the 2013-14 season, when he recorded 79 points (51g, 28a) in 78 games. Ovechkin is looking to record his eighth 50-goal season of his career. Only Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky have more 50-goal seasons, each with nine. No other player has at least seven. This season, 70 percent of Ovechkin's goals have come at even strength (28). That's the third-highest percentage of even-strength goals Ovechkin has scored in his career (2009-10: 74 percent; 2010-11: 78 percent). Since the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals (598), points (1,107), power play goals (224), power play points (430), game-winning goals (100), overtime goals (22, the NHL's all-time mark) and shots (4,825). Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals since 1998-99 despite beginning his NHL career in 2005, and he ranks first in shots taken since the 1994-95 season.

Sweet Nicky - Nicklas Backstrom played in his 800th NHL/Capitals game against the Los Angeles Kings on March 8, becoming the seventh player in franchise history to reach the 800 game mark. Backstrom's 777 career points (204g, 573a) rank fourth in franchise history, trailing Mike Gartner by 12 points (789 points). Additionally, Backstrom's 573 assists rank first in franchise history. Backstrom's 777 points rank first among the 2006 NHL Draft class, leading Phil Kessel by 51 points, who ranks second through games played March 6, and his 573 assists are 121 more than Claude Giroux, who ranks second in the 2006 NHL Draft class with 452 assists through games played March 8. Since entering the NHL in the 2007 season, Backstrom’s 573 assists rank third (Henrik Sedin: 594; Joe Thornton: 581) in the NHL. With 573 career assists, Backstrom is now two assists shy of tying Scott Gomez for 98th all-time in career assists. Backstrom is one of just three players to rank in the top 100 all-time in assists with 800 or fewer games played (Bobby Orr: 64th all-time, 645 assists in 657 games; Peter Forsberg: 71st all-time, 636 assists in 708 games).

Flying V - Jakub Vrana has scored two goals in his last three games and has points in three of his last four games (2g, 1a). Vrana’s 12 goals are tied for 15th in the NHL among rookies this season. Additionally, his 51.32 shot attempts percentage at five-on-five (719 shot attempts for, 682 against) ranks ninth among rookie forwards this season. Including three goals during the 2016-17 season, Vrana now has 15 goals in 81 games as a rookie. That’s tied with Mark Lofthouse (1978-79) for the 15th-most by a rookie in franchise history and most by a Capitals rookie since Alex Ovechkin, who recorded 52 goals in his 2005-06 rookie season, which was the fourth-most goals by a rookie in NHL history.

Osh Babe - T.J. Oshie has three assists in his last five games and 24 on the year. That's one assist shy of his 25 assists set in the 2015-16 season, his most since joining the Capitals. Oshie's 24 assists and his 1.92 assists per 60 minutes of five-on-five play each rank fifth on the Capitals. Of Oshie's 24 assists, 17 have been primary assists, tied with Alex Ovechkin for the fourth-most primary assists on the team.

Shark Wranglers – Alex Ovechkin has registered 14 points (8g, 6a) in 17 career games against the Sharks and has earned seven points in his last six games against San Jose (3g, 4a). Nicklas Backstrom has earned nine points (1g, 8a) in 13 career games against the Sharks and has tallied five assists in his last six games against San Jose. T.J. Oshie has earned 12 points (6g, 6a) in 25 career games against the Sharks.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Conclude California Trip on Saturday in San Jose / #CapsKings Postgame Notebook: None And One

Washington Post: Struggles endure for T.J. Oshie, but recent games have been ‘a lot better,’ he says / Hart race: Nikita Fancy Stats: Kucherov is the favorite, but who should be the other two finalists? (Alex Ovechkin mentioned)

NBC Sports Washington: Brent Johnson tweets passionate defense of Braden Holtby Capitals at Sharks preview

ABC 2 Baltimore: Gov. Hogan wins Caps vs. Maple Leafs bet against Canadian ambassador

AP: Friday’s Sports Transactions (Washington Capitals mentioned)

ESPN: Can the NHL avoid disaster in new esports initiative? (Ted Leonsis, Washington Capitals mentioned) / NHL enters esports market with international tournament (Ted Leonsis, Washington Capitals mentioned)

ESPNW: Graphic novel 'Kicking Ice' showcases girls' quest to belong in hockey (Devante Smith-Pelly mentioned)

LA Times: What we learned from the Kings' 3-1 victory over the Washington Capitals

NBC Bay Area: Childhood Sharks Fan Ovechkin Can Make History Against San Jose

Sports Capitol: Capitals locker room filled with worldwide flavor

STATS LLC: Capitals aim to end California skid at Sharks

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals:  Barry Trotz | March 9 /  Caps 365 | March 9 /  Lars Eller | March 9

NBC Sports Washington:  Why the Caps have one of the best backup goalies in Grubauer /  Caps sound off on their 3-1 loss to the Kings /  Mic'd Up: Tom Wilson at the Stadium Series

Sharks Clips:

AP: Boedker breaks the tie, Sharks beat Blues on home ice

The Athletic: Power play drought finally ends, Sharks learn valuable lesson as they inch closer to playoffs / Recap: Q&A with Sharks beat writer Kevin Kurz

Fear the Fin: Sharks 2, Blues 0: Blues blanked in big night for Pacific Division

The Mercury-News: Takeaways: Boedker makes a confession about Sharks’ power play

NBC Sports Bay Area: Mikkel Boedker finally living up to his potential

San Francisco Chronicle: Sharks finally convert on power play, top Blues