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Caps Today, 4/12/18

April 12, 2018
The Capitals host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena tonight in Game 1 of the 2018 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. This marks the first meeting between Washington and Columbus in the postseason. The Capitals posted a 3-1-0 record against the Blue Jackets during the regular season.

In his final 30 appearances, Philipp Grubauer finished with a record of 15-7-2, 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. Over the last two seasons, Philipp Grubauer has a 28-16-5 record, a 2.22 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. That’s the lowest goals against average of any goaltender in the NHL over the last two seasons and tied for the fifth-highest save percentage among goaltenders with at least 30 starts over the last two seasons.

This Day in Capitals History

April 12, 1992: Peter Bondra had a goal and an assist, including the overtime game-winner as the Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in OT from Brendan Byrne Arena. Jim Hrivnak made 33 saves as head coach Terry Murray secured his 100th career win. 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

The Great Eight – Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is making his 10th career playoff appearance. He has registered 90 points (46g, 44a) in 97 career playoff games and ranks first in franchise history in playoff points and goals, first in power-play goals (15) and tied for third in assists. In addition, Ovechkin ranks fifth among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.47) and tied for ninth in playoff points per game (0.93). In 19 career games when his team has faced elimination, Ovechkin has registered 19 points (9g, 10a).  

Saint Nick – Nicklas Backstrom has earned 75 points (26g, 49a) in 96 career playoff games and ranks second in franchise postseason history in points, first in assists and third in goals. Backstrom recorded 50 assists this season, marking the fifth-straight season that Backstrom has recorded at least 50 assists. He’s the only player in the NHL to currently have five-straight 50 assist seasons). Since 2007-08, Backstrom ranks second in the NHL in assists (590) and ranks second among active NHL players (min. 300 GP) in career assists per game (0.72).

Bullying Blue Jackets – This postseason marks the first time Washington and Columbus will meet in the playoffs. The Capitals have won 12 of their last 14 games against the Blue Jackets and have won five of their last six games against Columbus at Capital One Arena. Washington and Columbus met four times during the regular season, with the Capitals posting a 3-1-0 record. John Carlson (2g, 3a) led the Capitals with five points in four games against the Blue Jackets and Alex Ovechkin (2g, 2a), Evgeny Kuznetsov (2g, 2a) and T.J. Oshie (4a) and each recorded four points in four games against Columbus in 2017-18.

Starting Strong – The Capitals have won five of their last seven Games 1s and are 26-17 all-time in the opening game of a playoff series. In addition, Washington is 18-9 all-time in Game 1s at home.

Playing the Right Way - The Capitals went 12-3-0 in their final 15 games of the season. That’s the third-best record the Capitals have finished in the final 15 games in franchise history (1983-84: 12-1-2; 2012-13: 12-1-2; 2007-08: 12-3-0). During that stretch, which began on March 10, the Capitals recorded the most points (24) in the NHL and outscored their opponents 55 to 39, the most goals for and tied for the ninth-lowest goals against. During that stretch, the Capitals only trailed in games for 141:37 minutes, the least amount of time in the NHL. Nicklas Backstrom was tied for second in the NHL in points (5g, 17a) during that stretch.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps and Jackets Take Rivalry to Next Level

Washington Post: Dmitry Orlov and Sergei Bobrovsky are best friends — and playoff enemies / ‘Games get nasty’: Capitals expect physical first-round series with Blue Jackets / KidsPost: When the pressure is off, can the Capitals win in the playoffs?

Washington Times: Capitals will need to contain Werenski-Jones pairing in first round / Snyder: Capitals’ goalie problem seems like the kind you want

NBC Sports Washington: Game 1 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread / The Capitals' Game 1 lineup appears to be set against Columbus / Local D.C. brewery changing its Twitter handle ahead of Capitals playoff series / NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 Tale of the Tape: Washington vs. Columbus / How Vegas may have saved the Capitals' season by passing on Philipp Grubauer /

NHL.com: Philipp Grubauer vs. Sergei Bobrovsky / Grubauer's path led to Game 1 start for Capitals against Blue Jackets

AP: Russian stars could decide Blue Jackets-Capitals series / Patience finally pays off for big-game goalie Grubauer / Fighting down, hatred still high in NHL playoff rivalries (John Carlson mentioned)

CBS Sports: 2018 NHL Playoffs: Here are our bold picks and predictions for the Stanley Cup playoffs (Washington Capitals mentioned) / NHL Playoffs 2018: One reason to root for every team to win the Stanley Cup (Washington Capitals mentioned) / NHL Playoffs 2018: One reason to root against every team in the Stanley Cup playoffs (Washington Capitals mentioned)

ESPN: Goalie Heat Index: Ranking who's hottest heading into the playoffs (Washington Capitals mentioned) / Conn Smythe Watch: Picks for all 16 teams (Washington Capitals mentioned) / Stanley Cup playoffs Power Rankings: The X factor for each team (Washington Capitals mentioned) / Stanley Cup playoff storylines: Penguins' quest to three-peat, can Capitals avoid more misery?

The Hockey News: Five Players Who Could Salvage Their Seasons With Big Playoff Performances (T.J. Oshie mentioned)

NBC Sports: Capitals vs. Blue Jackets: PHT 2018 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview

NHLPA: My Top 5 | GWG Leaders (Evgeny Kuznetsov mentioned)

Sporting News: NHL playoffs 2018: Stanley Cup picks, predictions from SN's experts

Sports Capitol: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov makes his mark

Sports Illustrated: Why Each NHL Team Could Win the Stanley Cup (Washington Capitals mentioned) / Why Each NHL Team Won't Win the Stanley Cup (Washington Capitals mentioned) / 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: SI Staffers Make Postseason Predictions (Washington Capitals mentioned) / Making Our Picks for the 2018 Stanley Cup Winner (Washington Capitals mentioned)

SportsNet: 31 Thoughts: This might be the most difficult NHL Awards race ever (Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson mentioned)

STATS LLC: Caps, Jackets roll into playoffs on hot streaks

 

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Barry Trotz | April 11 / Rinkside Update | Grubauer / Capitals Report | April 11 / Andre Burakovsky | April 11 / Lars Eller | April 11

FOX Sports 910 Richmond: Wes McElroy - Hour 3 - Brett Connolly (4-11-18)

The Hockey News: The Hockey News Podcast: Eastern Conference Playoff Preview (Washington Capitals mentioned)

Japers’ Rink Radio: JRR Episode 78: First Round Preview

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals Extra Podcast: Bonus Podcast: 2 Days Until Columbus

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Thursday Predictions (Washington Capitals mentioned)

TSN Edmonton 1260: McNally: Grubauer has played his way into starting role

TSN Toronto 1050: MacArthur: Stanley Cup Prop Bets (Washington Capitals mentioned)

WJLA-TV ABC 7/News 8: Live Look In at Kettler Capitals Iceplex (4 a.m.) / ABC 7 Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex with Capitals mascot Slapshot (5 a.m.) / ABC 7 Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (6 a.m.) / Capitals Traffic Report (6 a.m.) / Good Morning Washington Anchors on #CapsJackets (6 a.m.) / #ALLCAPS Weather Report (6 a.m.) / Live Hit from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (6 a.m.) / Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex on the ALL CAPS Lawn Signs Being Given Away at Kettler and #CapsJackets (7 a.m.)  / Live Interview with John Walton on #CapsJackets (7 a.m.)

WSYX-CBO ABC: ABC 7 Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex on #CapsJackets (6 a.m.)

WTTG-TV FOX 5: On #CapsJackets and the ALL CAPS Ticket Challenge (6 a.m.) / Sports Report with Tucker Barnes in a Caps Jersey (6 a.m.) / On #CapsJackets and the ALL CAPS Ticket Challenge (7 a.m.) / Capitals Weather Report (7 a.m.) / Still Ahead on the ALL CAPS Ticket Challenge (8 a.m.) / Mike Thomas Live from the ALL CAPS Ticket Challenge (8 a.m.) / Live Look-In at the Clarendon Metro Station During the ALL CAPS Ticket Challenge (8 a.m.)  / Live From the ALL CAPS Ticket Challenge (8 a.m.)

Blue Jackets Clips:

ABC 6: Blue Jackets: Game one playoff preview against Capitals, CBJ quietly confident

The Athletic: All About 'Bob': Blue Jackets need Sergei Bobrovsky to cast aside playoff struggles / Measuring 'confidence': How regression helped the Blue Jackets' late-season surge / Thomas Vanek has provided points and pointers for Blue Jackets, but can they carry over to the postseason?

The Cannon: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Washington Capitals Preview: Defensemen

Columbus Blue Jackets: Game 1 preview: Enough waiting, it's time for playoff hockey / Ian Cole has fit in quickly, become major asset for Blue Jackets / First-Round practice notes: 'Bob' ready for another crack at playoffs / Sights and sounds: Practice April 11

Columbus Dispatch: Blue Jackets | Sergei Bobrovsky ‘relaxed’ entering playoffs / NHL | Even with Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals struggle in playoffs / Michael Arace | Capitals fans know all about playoff pain / Blue Jackets look to be ‘dynamic’ on offense in playoffs

NHL.com: Panarin 'game-breaker' in playoffs for Blue Jackets against Capitals

Union and Blue: Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals: Going Back Two Years / Columbus Blue Jackets Staring Down the Barrel: Caps in Round One

GAME NOTES  
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