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Caps Today, 4/21/18

April 21, 2018
The Capitals face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Capital One Arena today in Game 5 of the 2018 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Washington won Game 4 versus Columbus 4-1 on April 19 at Nationwide Arena and are tied in the series 2-2. The Capitals posted a 3-1-0 record against the Blue Jackets during the regular season.

Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded four points (1g, 3a) in Game 4, his first career four point game in the playoffs and the first Capital to record four points since Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in 2010 (versus Montreal Canadiens, Ovechkin: 1g, 3a; Backstrom: 3g, 1a, via Elias Sports Bureau). Kuznetsov factored in to every goal in Game 4, becoming the second player in franchise history to do so since (Andrei Nikolishin recorded four assists on May 28, 1998 against the Buffalo Sabres). Kuznetsov has six multi-point games in 43 career playoff games. This season, from March 12 to March 28, Kuznetsov recorded six-straight multi-point games (5g, 8a). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kuznetsov was the only player with a six-game multi-point streak this season and was the first to complete six-straight games with at least two points since Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (March 14-23, 2017: 3g, 10a). Additionally, Kuznetsov tied the franchise record for most consecutive games with at least two points (Dennis Maruk (1981-82), Mike Gartner (1984-85) and Mike Green (2008-09).

TOP GAME NOTES

Power Surge - The Capitals are seven for 20 on the power-play this postseason, tied for third in the NHL in power-play percentage (35%). Washington is leading the playoffs in power-play goals (seven). Additionally, Washington has scored a power play goal in every game of the series. That marks the first time since 2007-08 the Capitals have recorded a power play goal in at least four-straight playoff games in a series (2008 quarter final against the Philadelphia Flyers: seven power play goals through Games 3 and 7) and the first time Washington has recorded a power play goal in the first four games of a series since 1996 (1996 quarter final against the Pittsburgh Penguins: seven power play goals). Washington was 29-7-3 this season when they recorded at least one power play goal. 

The Great Eight – Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin played in his 101st career NHL playoff game in Game 4 on April 19, passing Dale Hunter and Kelly Miller (100) for the franchise record. Ovechkin has registered 96 points (49g, 47a) in 101 career playoff games and ranks first in franchise history in playoff points and goals, first in power-play goals (17) and tied for second in assists. Ovechkin is one goal shy of becoming the seventh active player with 50 career playoff goals. In addition, Ovechkin ranks fourth among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.49) and ninth in playoff points per game (0.95). In 19 career games when his team has faced elimination, Ovechkin has registered 19 points (9g, 10a).  

Holtbeast - Braden Holtby has posted four shutouts, a 1.97 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in a franchise-record 62 career playoff games. The Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, native ranks second in NHL playoff history (min. 50 games played) in career save percentage and second in career goals-against average. In addition, Holtby ranks first among active NHL goaltenders (min. 20 games played) in career playoff save percentage and goals-against average. Holtby has allowed two goals or fewer in 41 of his 62 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 28-13 record in those games. During the regular season, Holtby has played in 160 career games following one day of rest, recording 2.16 goals against average and a .927 save percentage, his lowest goals against average and his highest save percentage of any other combination of days with rest.  

Super Carly - John Carlson scored his first goal of the playoffs in Game 3 on April 17 and now has seven points (1g, 6a) in three playoff games in this series. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Carlson became the first defenseman in franchise history to record seven points within the first three games of a playoff series and the first Capitals player since 1990 to record seven points in the first three games of a series (John Druce: 6g, 2a; Geoff Courtnall: 2g, 5a; Dale Hunter: 1g, 6a in 1990 versus New York Rangers). Additionally, Carlson became just the seventh defenseman in NHL history to record seven points in the first three games of a playoff series and the first since Al MacInnis in 1999 (2g, 6a with the St. Louis Blues). In 79 career playoff games, which is third in franchise history among defensemen, Carlson has 42 points (14g, 28a) and two game-winning goals. Carlson’s 68 points (15g, 53a) led the NHL this season and are the seventh-highest single season total by a Capital in franchise history. Carlson became the third Capitals defenseman to lead the NHL in points since 2000 (Sergei Gonchar: 2001-02, 59 points; Mike Green: 2008-09, 2009-10: 73 and 76 points, respectively). 

Creating Opportunities - The Capitals recorded 33 shots in Game 4 against the Blue Jackets, the fourth-straight game they have out-shot Columbus. Washington recorded 52 shots in regulation during Game 2 at Capital One Arena, marking the most shots within regulation in a home playoff game in franchise history and the second-most in franchise history (54 shots, April 26 at Montreal Canadiens). Washington’s 53.44 shot attempt percentage at five-on-five (233 shot attempts for, 203 against) in this series ranks fifth among all playoff teams. Additionally, the Capitals’ 53.14 scoring chance percentage at five-on-five (110 for, 97 against) ranks third among all Eastern Conference playoff teams. During the regular season, the Capitals were 19-8-1 when they out-shot their opponent and 23-11-1 when they recorded at least 30 shots. 

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Shortened Series Starts Saturday / Leading the Way / #CapsJackets Postgame Notebook: Holting The Fort

Washington Post: John Carlson continues to build on a stellar postseason reputation / Capitals’ Andre Burakovsky needs surgery, out for rest of first round

Washington Times: Andre Burakovsky to miss rest of Capitals’ first-round series / Playing through nagging injury, T.J. Oshie a leader in the details

NBC Sports Washington: Game 5 Capitals vs. Blue Jackets Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread / Burakovsky will miss the first round, but Caps won't rule him out for remainder of the playoffs / Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

NHL.com: Burakovsky out rest of first round for Capitals against Blue Jackets / 5 Keys: Blue Jackets at Capitals, Game 5 / Mission accomplished on road, Capitals need to figure out home in Game 5

AP: Capitals' Andre Burakovsky to have surgery, out rest of first round / NHL: Capitals' Holtby regains familiar form in goal / Big saves, more saves: Top goalies starring in key moments (Braden Holtby mentioned) / Sharks 4th liners help team advance to 2nd round (Jay Beagle, Barry Trotz mentioned)

ESPN: Weekly Reader: NHL Department of Player Safety must stay consistent (Washington Capitals mentioned) / Maple Leafs' Auston Matthews has NHL's best-selling jersey this season (Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie mentioned)

Field Level Media: NHL notebook: Hurricanes coach Peters resigns post (Andre Burakovsky mentioned)

NBC Sports: Capitals lose Burakovsky for rest of Blue Jackets series

Seattle Times: Garrett Pilon scores twice as Everett Silvertips open Western Conference finals by beating Tri-City

Sporting News: Andre Burakovsky injury update: Capitals F to have surgery, out for first round

Sports Illustrated: Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Jets Advance to Second Round With First Franchise Series Win (Washington Capitals mentioned)

SportsNet: How Marc Bergevin can address Canadiens’ pressing need at centre (Nicklas Backstrom mentioned)

STATS LLC: Blue Jackets, Capitals look to take series lead

TSN: Breaking down Carlson's free agent value

WTOP: Metro this weekend: Fest’s end means return of shutdowns, single-tracking (Washington Capitals mentioned)

Yahoo! Puck Daddy: Puck Daddy Bag of Mail: Playoff hot takes, be gone (Washington Capitals mentioned) / John Tortorella abruptly ends another press conference

  TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Two-Man Advantage | April 20 / Rinkside Update | Stephenson / Barry Trotz | April 20 / All-Access | Coming Home Even

106.7 The Fan: Sports Junkies: 4/20 Hour 1- Caps even series 2-2 (Segment starts at 2:34) / Sports Junkies: 4/20 Hour 2- Neil Greenberg / Sports Junkies: 4/20 Hour 3- Caps played their best hockey last night (Segment starts at 34:00) / Chad Dukes vs. the World: 4-20-18 Hour 1 - Joe Beninati / Grant and Danny: 4.20.18 Hour 1: Caps Even Up The Series (Segment starts at 0:05) / Grant and Danny: 4.20.18 Hour 2: Tarik El-Bashir (Segment starts at 22:20) / Grant and Danny: 4.20.18 Hour 3: Ovi gets unfairly crushed in the postseason (Segment starts at 10:42)

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Now it's a series / Caps-Jackets Game 5 preview: Coming home with the momentum / Series savior? Joe B and Locker explain Holtby's importance

NHL Network: NHL Now: Ovechkin Breakdown

 

Blue Jackets Clips:

The Athletic: In a series with no home-ice advantage, Blue Jackets hope Game 4 loss was a lesson learned / Been there, won that: Stanley Cup champion Ian Cole trying to help young Blue Jackets manage emotions, conquer playoff adversity

The Cannon: It’s Time for Some Bingo

Columbus Blue Jackets: GAME 5 PREVIEW: Blue Jackets aim to handle high-stakes game better / Sights and sounds: Practice April 20

Columbus Dispatch: Blue Jackets notebook | Playing with lead eludes Jackets / Blue Jackets | Caps goalie Holtby needs to face more shots / Blue Jackets | After two home losses, best-of-three series awaits

NHL.com: Cole brings playoff experience to young Blue Jackets

Union and Blue: Game Five a must Win for the Columbus Blue Jackets

GAME NOTES  
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