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Caps Today, 4/7/18

April 7, 2018
Today’s Storyline

The Capitals host the New Jersey Devils at Capital One Arena tonight in the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. The Capitals have earned a point in 10 consecutive games against the Devils (8-0-2) and have won three of their last five games by a score of 5-2.

This season, Ovechkin leads the NHL with 47 goals and leads the Capitals in even strength goals (30) and points (85), marking the fifth time he has recorded at least 30 even strength goals. The Capitals are 36-10-3 this season when Ovechkin records a point. Ovechkin is three goals shy of the 50 goal mark, and if he manages to record a hat trick in the season finale for the second time in his career (Ovechkin recorded a hat trick in the 2015-16 finale that propelled him to the 50-goal mark), he would reach the 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). Ovechkin now sits three tallies shy from tying Dino Ciccarelli (608) for 18th place on the League’s all-time list. 

Media

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

Jay Beagle: Monday, April 9, 7:35 p.m., WTOP, 103.5 FM

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

This Day in Capitals History

April 7, 1985: Mike Gartner had two goals and two assists and secured his first career 50-goal campaign as the Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-3 in the 1984-85 regular-season finale. Bobby Carpenter opened the scoring with his team-leading 53rd goal of the season which established a then-record for most goals in a season by an American-born player. Carpenter and Gartner remain the only Capitals tandem to score 50 goals in the same season. Rookie defenseman Kevin Hatcher added a shorthanded goal for his first career NHL tally in his second career game. 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

Kuz Control - With two goals and an assist against the Nashville Predators on April 5, Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his 82nd point of the season and became the 16th player in franchise history to reach the 80 point mark and the first player other than Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to reach the mark since Alexander Semin in the 2009-10 season (40g, 44a). Kuznetsov’s 27 goals this season are a new season high, while his 55 assists are two shy of his single season mark set in the 2015-16 season. Kuznetsov’s three-point game marked his eighth three-point game of the season, which is tied for 11th in the NHL this season. Additionally, that marked Kuznetsov’s 23rd multi-point game of the season, tied with Ovechkin for the team lead and 14 th in the NHL. With 264 career points (80g, 184a), Kuznetsov ranks eighth in points among the 2010 draft class and sixth in assists. Additionally, Kuznetsov’s career 1.98 assists per 60 minutes of five-on-five play ranks first among 2010 draftees.

Consistent Power - This season, the Capitals' have converted on 22.7 percent of their power play opportunities (55 out of 242), ranking seventh in the NHL. That marks the sixth-consecutive season the Capitals have converted on over 20 percent of their power play opportunities, the first time in franchise history they've gone six-straight seasons with a 20 percent success rate. Over those last six seasons, the Capitals have converted on 339 of their 1432 opportunities (23.7 percent), which ranks first in the NHL. Alex Ovechkin ranks first with 118 power play goals during that stretch. No other player has scored at least 80 power play goals during that stretch. Nicklas Backstrom ranks first with 156 assists on the power play. 

Team Success - Over the last four seasons, the Capitals lead the NHL in wins (204) and points (442) with a record of 204-89-34. Washington has recorded 28 more points than the Anaheim Ducks, who rank second over that span. Additionally, the Capitals rank first in power play percentage (23.2), second in goals for (997), second in goals against (802) and sixth on the penalty kill (82.6). Alex Ovechkin ranks first with 183 goals, while Nicklas Backstrom ranks first with 222 assists.

Holtbeast –  In his last three starts, Braden Holtby is 2-1-0 with a 2.35 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. Additionally, Holtby has stopped 94.4 percent of the shots he's faced on the penalty kill during that span (17 of 18). Over the last four seasons, Holtby's 93 wins at home rank first in the NHL, his 2.06 goals against average ranks first and his .926 save percentage is tied for second among goaltenders with at least 100 home starts over the last four seasons.

Bedeviling New Jersey - The Capitals have earned a point in 10 consecutive games against the Devils (8-0-2) and have won three of their last five games by a score of 5-2. Braden Holtby has posted a 14-3-3 record in his career against the Devils with four shutouts, the most shutouts he has against a single opponent, a 1.93 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. Holtby's 14 wins are tied for his most against a team (Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders). Alex Ovechkin has earned 52 points (22g, 30a) in 48 career games against New Jersey and has tallied 13 points in his last 11 games against the Devils (5g, 8a). John Carlson's 20 points (4g, 16a) in 30 games is tied for the second-most points he has against a single franchise (Carolina Hurricanes: 5g, 16a in 38 games; Tampa Bay: 5g, 15a in 32 games).

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Close Out Campaign vs. Jersey / #CapsPreds Postgame Notebook: Preseason For The Postseason / Preds Nip Caps, 4-3

Washington Post: Playing all 82 games in the NHL is a grind and an honor / Michal Kempny wasn’t a blockbuster get for the Capitals, but he could help like one / Fancy Stats: 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoff odds: Predators, Golden Knights and Bruins the early favorites (Washington Capitals mentioned)

NBC Sports Washington: Brian MacLellan makes the case for Ovechkin to win the Hart Trophy / Brian MacLellan would be just fine with a first round matchup against the Penguins / Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: NHL Playoff Bracket Projection

NHL.com: NHL goal-scoring race: Ovechkin looking to win seventh title

The Athletic: Dellow: Eight answers to pre-season questions about the Metro Division (Matt Niskanen mentioned)

ESPN: Weekly Reader: 18 undeniably wonderful things about this NHL season (Washington Capitals mentioned)

The Hockey News: Unsung Heroes: The 31 Players Who Haven’t Gotten Enough Credit For Great Seasons (Washington Capitals mentioned)

Sports Xchange: Playoff-bound Devils play for seeding against Capitals

TSN: Statistically Speaking: Sedins with a superb send-off (Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, Alex Ovechkin mentioned)

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: The #ALLCAPS Mural /   Brian MacLellan | April 6 / Braden Holtby | April 6 / UAE Women's Hockey Team in D.C.

106.7 The Fan: Chad Dukes vs. the World 4-6-18 Hour 1-John Carlson (Segment begins at 21:22) / The Sports Junkies 4/6 Hour 3-Jay Beagle (Segment begins at 33:20)

ESPN 980: 04-06-18 Chandler Stephenson / April 6 - Capitals forward Brett Connolly

Jim Rome Show: Barry Trotz: The Washington head coach talks playoffs, Ovechkin's greatness, and more.

NBC Sports Washington: Even Cal Ripken Jr. is impressed by Ovechkin's 1,000 games / Beagle: Playoffs feel different this year than years past / Preview: Caps host Devils in regular season finale

Sports Capitol: Red Line: Adam Vingan on the Predators and Capitals

Devils Clips:

AP: Devils rebound from worst season in nearly 30 years

The Athletic: While his Devils teammates celebrated, Blake Coleman met one of his biggest fans / 'There is nothing like it': What making the playoffs personally means to the New Jersey Devils / For a relatively diminutive Devils defense, hockey sense is the ultimate equalizer

NHL.com: Devils powered by Hall's career season in return to playoffs

NJ.com: Who will Devils face in NHL playoffs? Breaking down potential 1st-round opponents / How a carpool built bond for Devils' Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, Pavel Zacha, Blake Coleman

North Jersey.com: Devils playoff berth even sweeter for Andy Greene and Travis Zajac / Devils clinch an NHL playoffs spot: 5 reasons why / Devils clinch Stanley Cup playoffs berth for first time since 2012

GAME NOTES  
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