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Caps Today, 5/3/18

May 3, 2018
The Capitals face the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena tonight in Game 4 of the 2018 Eastern Conference semifinals. Washington won Game 3, 4-3 on May 1 to take the series lead at 2-1.

The Capitals are 4-0 on the road in the playoffs. That marks the first time in franchise history that they have won the first four road games to start the playoffs and is tied for the most consecutive road wins in a single playoff in franchise history (won four-straight in 1998). Washington is the only team in the playoffs without a loss on the road. Entering Game 4, the Capitals' 17 goals on the road ranks second, while their nine against are the third-lowest among teams currently in the second round of the playoffs. Alex Ovechkin leads the Capitals and ranks third in the NHL in road playoff points with 8 (4g, 4a).

*Please note, due to a technical error, the Capitals’ portion of game notes are currently unavailable due to a technical error. NHL PR is actively working to fix the issue. We apologize for the inconvenience. 

TOP GAME NOTES

The Great Eight – Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recorded a goal and an assist in Game 3 on May 1. Ovechkin now has points and goals in four-straight games (5g, 2a) and has multi-point efforts in three of his last four games. Ovechkin's scored the game-winning goal with 1:07 remaining in regulation in Game 3 to mark the second-latest game-winning goal in the playoffs in franchise history (Joel Ward: two seconds remaining in Game 1 of the 2015 Second Round against the New York Rangers). Ovechkin’s seventh career game-winning goal in the playoffs also passed Peter Bondra, Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera (six each) for the most in franchise history. Entering Game 4, Ovechkin is tied for first in the NHL with eight goals in the playoffs (Mark Scheifele, Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel). Additionally, Ovechkin ranks fourth among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.51) and tied for sixth in playoff points per game (0.97). Among the top 10 active career playoff goal scorers, Ovechkin ranks sixth, and his 0.51 goals per game ranks first among player on that list. Ovechkin has 31 points (15g, 16a) in 23 career playoff games against the Penguins.

Dishing in Threes - Nicklas Backstrom recorded three assists in Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins to record his second-career three-assist game in the playoffs (Game 3, 2009 Conference Quarterfinal versus the New York Rangers). Backstrom has 58 career playoff assists, the all-time franchise mark. Backstrom's three-assist game marked the fifth three-assist effort by the Capitals this postseason (Lars Eller: Game 2 versus Pittsburgh; John Carlson: Game 1 and 2 versus Columbus; Evgeny Kuznetsov: Game 4 versus Columbus). The Capitals have had 26 total games featuring a player with at least three assists in franchise history.

Holtbeast – Since reclaiming the starting role, goaltender Braden Holtby has posted a 6-1-0 record with a 2.08 goals-against average (second among goaltenders currently in the playoffs) and .925 save percentage (second among goaltenders with at least three games played currently in the playoffs). Entering tonight’s game Holtby has posted four shutouts, a 2.01 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in a franchise-record 67 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 42 of his 67 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 29-13 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 is tied for the lead among all NHL defensemen with 10 points (2g, 8a) in the playoffs. Carlson is now two points shy of the Capitals' franchise mark for points by a defenseman in the playoffs (Kevin Hatcher, 1988: 5g, 7a; Scott Stevens, 1988: 1g, 11; Carlson, 2016: 5g, 7a). In 85 career playoff games, which is the second most in franchise history among defensemen, Carlson has 45 points (15g, 30a) 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).  

Special Teams – The Capitals are 11 for 35 on the power-play this postseason and own the second-highest power-play percentage (31.4%) in the playoffs. Washington is leading the playoffs in power-play goals (11). Additionally, Washington has scored a power play goal in eight of their nine playoff games and is two for eight against Pittsburgh in this series. Washington was 29-7-3 this season when they recorded at least one power play goal. Additionally, the Capitals penalty kill ranks fifth among teams actively in the playoffs (84.8 percent). The Capitals have killed off 25 of their last 26 penalties, allowing just one power play goal since Game 3 versus the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 17.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Get Set for Game 4 Without Wilson / #CapsPens Postgame Notebook: Leading Men / Capitals Sign Juuso Ikonen / Capitals Sign Axel Jonsson-Fjallby

Washington Post: Tom Wilson suspended three games by NHL for hit on Zach Aston-Reese / Down 2-1 in series with Capitals, Penguins find themselves in a rare hole / Tom Wilson suspended three games by NHL for hit on Zach Aston-Reese / Svrluga: Capitals-Penguins means compelling hockey — and the focus on everything else

Washington Times: Capitals’ Tom Wilson suspended three games for Aston-Reese hit

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals at Penguins Game 4 NHL Playoffs 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream / Wilson suspended three playoff games for controversial hit in Game 3 / How Matt Murray's playing style is leaving the glove side open for the Caps

NHL.com: Capitals plan to 'focus on the moment' of Game 4 without Wilson / Wilson suspended three games, out for Capitals in Game 4 / Capitals must 'focus on the moment' entering Game 4 against Penguins

AP: Capitals, Penguins try to keep focus on series, not Wilson / Capitals forward Tom Wilson suspended 3 games / Swing Away: Swatting Puck Out of Midair Not Uncommon or Easy (Alex Ovechkin mentioned)

The Athletic: Top 20 UFAs: Salary cap increase and star power sets up interesting free-agent market (John Carlson mentioned) / The Professor of Passing: Nicklas Backstrom is still a sublime distributor — and still underappreciated

ESPN: Capitals forward Tom Wilson suspended 3 games for check on Penguins' Zach Aston-Reese / Goalie Confidence Index: Who we'd pick to win one game (Braden Holtby mentioned)

Sports Capitol: Capitals forward Tom Wilson suspended

Sports Illustrated: Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Palat Leads Lightning Past Bruins; Sharks Knot Series in Game 4 (Capitals mentioned)

SportsNet: While Tom Wilson is talk of town, Penguins ‘focused on playing’ / Capitals sign forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby to entry-level contract

STATS LLC: Wilson suspension major storyline as Pens host Caps in Game 4

USA Today: Capitals' Tom Wilson suspended three games for hit that broke opponent's jaw

WTOP: Capitals Tom Wilson suspended for 3 games for hit on Penguins Zach Aston-Reese

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: All-Access | The Right Attitude / Capitals Locker Room | May 2 / Caps 365 | May 2 / Barry Trotz | May 2

NBC Sports: Wilson given three-game suspension for illegal hit / Ovechkin in the midst of his best postseason

NBC Sports Washington: Caps-Pens Game 4 Preview

NHL.com: Wilson suspended 3 games

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Wilson's Suspension / NHL Tonight: Tom Wilson / NHL Now: Mike Kelly's Mike Check (Capitals mentioned)

ESPN New York 98.7: Game Misconduct Podcast: Pens & Preds fall behind (Capitals mentioned)

Sports Capitol: Red Line: Emergency podcast after NHL suspends Tom Wilson

SportsNet: Capitals’ Wilson Suspended For Three Games / Capitals Not Pointing Finger At Crosby For Alleged ‘Spit' / Dumoulin Hit Shouldn't Be Evidence In Review Of Latest Wilson Hit / Wilson Is A ‘Bad Guy’ But Can’t Suspend Him For Either Hit

TSN: Wilson suspended three games for hit on Aston-Reese

TSN Montreal 690: Kaplan: Wilson suspension a little ridiculous / Habs Lunch: Are the Canadiens close to contending? (Tom Wilson mentioned) / McKenzie: Here's why Wilson's hit isn't suspendable / Gentille: Ovechkin is leading the way

TSN Vancouver 1040: Paterson: Wilson is a heat seeking missile

Penguins Clips:

The Athletic: Yohe: A dominant Evgeni Malkin might be necessary for Penguins to win this series / Yohe mailbag: On Tom Wilson and the Penguins being on the ropes

DK Pittsburgh Sports: Three keys for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 4

NHL.com: Guentzel not surprising former coaches with playoff scoring for Penguins / Penguins not panicking heading into Game 4 against Capitals

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Ron Cook: Without enforcers, NHL may be more dangerous / The Penguins power play may be starting to click again

Trib Live: Capitals' Tom Wilson suspended 3 games for hit on Penguins' Zach Aston-Reese / Podcast: ESPN.com's Greg Whyshynski discusses Penguins-Capitals series / Penguins notebook: Mike Sullivan lauds 'sharper' power play in Game 3 / Capitals' Barry Trotz: Tom Wilson not laughing over injury to Penguins' Zach Aston-Reese / Tim Benz: Penguins looking to avoid rare series deficit scramble
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