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Caps Today, 4/5/18

April 5, 2018
The Capitals host the Nashville Predators at Capital One Arena tonight in the second and final meeting between the teams this season. Washington lost the first matchup 6-3 on Nov. 14 at Bridgestone Arena. The Capitals are 13-9-1-2 all-time against the Predators.

The Capitals will hold a pre-game ceremony prior to hosting the Predators tonight to honor captain Alex Ovechkin for playing in his 1,000 th  NHL game on April 1 in Pittsburgh . During the ceremony, Ovechkin will receive a special gift from the organization, the National Hockey League and his teammates. Capitals President Dick Patrick and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will join Ovechkin’s wife Nastya Ovechkina, on the ice to honor Ovechkin. Ovechkin became the first player in franchise history and the first player selected in the 2004 NHL Draft to play 1,000 NHL games, and the 54th player in NHL history to play his first 1,000 games with a single franchise. Since joining the Capitals in the 2005-06 season, Ovechkin has missed just 29 games, never appearing in fewer than 72 games in a season. Since entering the NHL, only five players have played in more games (Patrick Marleau, Dustin Brown, Henrik Sedin, Eric Staal and Brent Seabrook). This season, Ovechkin leads the NHL with 46 goals and leads the Capitals in even strength goals (30) and points (84), marking the fifth time he has recorded at least 30 even strength goals. The Capitals are 36-9-3 this season when Ovechkin records a point, good for a .781 point percentage, a higher point percentage than each of the current top five scorers in the NHL. Ovechkin is looking to reach the 50 goal mark for the eighth time in his career to join Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky as the only players with eight 50-goal seasons (Bossy and Gretzky each recorded nine 50-goal seasons). Ovechkin, 32, is also aiming to become the second player since the 1967-68 expansion era to lead the NHL in goals at the age of 32 or older (Phil Esposito led the NHL twice in goals just before his 33rd and 34th birthday). With two games remaining in 2017-18, Ovechkin sits four tallies shy of his eighth career 50-goal season and from tying Dino Ciccarelli (608) for 18th place on the League’s all-time list. Ovechkin has scored a total of 17 goals within the final two games of a season over his first 12 campaigns, including a hat trick in the 2015-16 finale that propelled him to the 50-goal mark. 

Media

Jay Beagle: Friday, April 6, 8:45 a.m., Sports Junkies, 106.7 The Fan

Barry Trotz, Friday, 2:03 p.m., The Jim Rome Show

Chandler Stephenson, Friday, April 6, 3:30 p.m., Inside the Locker Room, ESPN 980

John Carlson: Friday, 3:30 p.m., Chad Dukes Versus The World, 106.7 The Fan

Brett Connolly: Friday, April 6, 4:30 p.m., Steve Czaban Show, ESPN 980

Barry Trotz: Monday, April 9, 6:40 a.m., WTOP 103.5 FM

TJ Oshie: Monday, April 9, 8:15 a.m., Elliot in the Morning, DC 101

Nicklas Backstrom: Monday, April 9, 8:30 a.m., Cooley and Kevin, ESPN 980

Tom Wilson: Tuesday, April 10, 8:10 a.m., WTOP, 103.5 FM

This Day in Capitals History

April 5, 1981: Dennis Maruk recorded a hat-trick in the final game of the regular-season to secure the first 50-goal campaign in franchise history as the Capitals beat the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 at Capital Centre. Maruk beat Detroit’s Larry Lozinski twice in the first period and completed the hat-trick with 6:55 remaining in the third period with Bob Kelly and Howard Walker drawing the assists on goal No.50. 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'

TOP GAME NOTES

Nis-Cannon - Matt Niskanen is set to play in his 800th career game tonight against the Nashville Predators. Niskanen is one point shy of 30 points (7g, 22a), despite missing 14 games due to injury. That would mark the fifth-consecutive season Niskanen would reach the 30 point mark.

11 Strong - This season, the Capitals have 11 players who have reached double-digit goal totals (Alex Ovechkink: 46; Evgeny Kuznetsov: 25; Nicklas Backstrom: 20; Lars Eller: 18; T.J. Oshie: 18; Brett Connolly: 15; John Carlson: 15; Tom Wilson: 14; Jakub Vrana: 13; Andre Burakovsky: 11; Dmitry Orlov: 10). That’s the exact same amount of double-digit goal scorers the Capitals had during the 2016-17 season. In 2016-17, the Capitals’ 11 double-digit goal scorers accumulated a total of 220 goals, 84.3 percent of the Capitals’ total goals. This season, the Capitals 11 double-digit goal scorers have accumulated 205 goals, 82.7 percent of the Capitals’ total goals. Of the Capitals’ 11 double-digit goal scorers, seven have scored more this season than they did last season (Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Eller, Carlson, Wilson, Vrana and Orlov). Burakovsky is one goal shy of tying his 2016-17 output of 12 goals, and if he scores a goal within the Capitals’ next two games, he’ll tie his 2016-17 total in eight-fewer games. Connolly is one goal shy of improving his 2016-17 goal output of 15 goals, and if he scores one more goal in the Capitals’ next two games, he will set a career high in goals. This season, seven different players has established new career highs in goals (Kuznetsov, Eller, Carlson, Wilson, Vrana, Orlov, Chandler Stephenson: six).

Playing the Right Way - The Capitals have won 11 of their last 13 games (11-2-0) dating back to March 10, outscoring opponents 47 to 32. In that span, the Capitals have trailed in each of those 10 games for a total of 114:01 minutes, the lowest in the NHL since March 10. 

Solid Additions - This season, the Capitals are 14-6-0 with Michal Kempny in the lineup and 8-2-0 with Jakub Jerabek in the lineup. Since Kempny made his Capitals debut on Feb. 22, Washington has allowed second-fewest goals (52) in the Eastern Conference (Columbus Blue Jackets: 51).

Grubauer Power –  In his last 30 appearances, Philipp Grubauer is 15-7-2 with a 1.99 goals against average and a .935 save percentage, which is the lowest goals against average and the highest save percentage among goaltenders with at least 30 appearances during that time frame. Additionally, Grubauer's .941 save percentage at even strength during that time frame ranks first among goaltenders with at least 30 appearances since Oct. 29.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Host Preds on Thursday / Capitals Sign Brian Pinho

Washington Post: Rotating goalies has rarely worked in the NHL playoffs, but Caps will consider it / Training camp in April: Auditions still open for Capitals’ forward roles in playoffs / Alex Ovechkin misses practice; Jay Beagle day-to-day with injury / Capitals sign Providence College forward Brian Pinho to two-year, entry-level deal

Washington Times: Gersich’s instincts have him In mix for playoffs / Ovechkin ‘day-to-day’ after crashing into boards

NBC Sports Washington: Snoop Dogg is the playoff good luck charm the Capitals need / With playoffs looming, Caps hold Ovechkin out of practice as a precaution / Caps prospect watch: Caps sign Pinho, avoid losing him to free agency

NHL.com: Ovechkin could miss Capitals game against Predators / Norris Trophy race could be five-player dead heat (John Carlson mentioned) / NHL goal-scoring race: Ovechkin might not add to edge / Super 16: Predators remain in top spot (Washington Capitals mentioned)

ABC 6: PC Hockey Captain Pinho Signs With Washington Capitals

AP: Hart to Tell: Crowded NHL MVP Race Has a Dozen Candidates

Salem News: Former St. John's Prep star Pinho inks NHL deal with Washington Capitals

Sports Capitol: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin’s status uncertain for Thursday vs. Nashville

SportsNet: Capitals could sit Ovechkin vs. Predators as precautionary measure

STATS LLC: Division leaders Predators, Capitals collide

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: The Week Ahead | April 4 / Barry Trotz | April 4 / Madison Bowey | April 4 / Brian Pinho | April 4 / Caps 365 | April 4

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Let's solve all of the Caps' problems / Capitals Extra Podcast: Game 80: Caps match Blues' desperation

NHL Network: NHL Now: Lars Eller

WJLA-TV ABC 7: Washington Caps Fan Appreciation Week (8 a.m.)

WNST: WTOP’s Dave Preston Talks Villanova Win, Caps Playoff Push

Predators Clips:

AP: Forsberg’s goal with 0.6 left disallowed, Panthers top Preds

Nashville Scene: The Six New Preds Could Help Nashville With Some Unfinished Business

On the Forecheck: Nashville Predators 1, Florida Panthers 2: Toronto Waves Off Late Tying Goal From Forsberg

The Tennessean: Who would Predators play if NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs started today? / Predators' Filip Forsberg: NHL, officials 'not on the same page' about disallowed goal / Predators' Austin Watson realizing all-around potential with career season

GAME NOTES
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