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Caps Today, 5/5/18

May 5, 2018
The Capitals face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena tonight in Game 5 of the 2018 Eastern Conference semifinals. Washington lost Game 4, 3-1 on May 3, and the series is tied 2-2.

Shane Gersich, who made his NHL playoff debut in Game 4, is one of five rookies to make their NHL playoff debuts this postseason joining Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Christian Djoos and Jakub Jerabek. That's the most rookies the Capitals have had participate in the playoffs since the 1995-96 season (Andrew Brunette, Nolan Baumgartner, Ken Klee, Stefan Ustorf, Jeff Nelson). This postseason, four different Capitals rookies have recorded points, which is a franchise high. The Capitals had nine different rookies on the roster this season (Vrana, Stephenson, Djoos, Jerabek, Gersich, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker and Liam O’Brien), and six rookies recorded their first career point. 

TOP GAME NOTES

Holtbeast – Entering Game 5, goaltender Braden Holtby has posted a 6-3-0 record with a 2.07 goals-against average (third among goaltenders currently in the playoffs) and .924 save percentage (third among goaltenders with at least three games played currently in the playoffs) in nine games. In the series, Holtby has a 2.28 goals against average, the lowest goals against average among second-round goaltenders, and a .913 save percentage, the third-highest save percentage in the second-round. Holtby has posted four shutouts, a 2.01 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in a franchise-record 68 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 43 of his 68 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 29-14 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.   

Five Alive – The Capitals have won five consecutive Game 5s when the series is tied 2-2 (2012 ECQF, 2013 ECQF, 2015 ECQF, 2017 ECQF, 2018 ECQF), including four-straight at home, and are 12-13 in Game 5 at Capital One Arena. Braden Holtby has won four-straight Game 5s and has registered a 1.70 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage in 10 career Game 5s. Alex Ovechkin has earned 11 points (7g, 4a) in 15 career Game 5s.

The Great Eight – Entering Game 5, Ovechkin is tied for second in the NHL with eight goals in the playoffs. 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 24 career playoff games against the Penguins.

Super Carly - John Carlson is tied for the lead among all NHL defensemen with 10 points (2g, 8a) in the playoffs and 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 86 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).   

O From D - Capitals defensemen have combined for 24 points (4g, 20a) in the playoffs, tied for the second-highest point total among playoff teams in the second round. In total, seven different defensemen have recorded a point this postseason, tied with the Boston Bruins for the most in the playoffs. Washington defensemen combined for 176 points this season, including 138 at even strength. Their 138 even strength points were the most Capitals defensemen have recorded over the last four seasons. The Capitals' 1.68 points per game at even strength ranked sixth in the NHL. Additionally, 26.3 percent of the Capitals' total even strength points (525) came from defensemen, the 10th-highest percentage in the NHL.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps and Pens Get Set for Game 5 / #CapsPens Postgame Notebook: No Leads / Capitals Sign Ilya Samsonov

Washington Post: For Capitals, Game 5 focus will be on reigniting top line / Andre Burakovsky skates, but unlikely to return by end of Penguins series / Penguins dismiss fatigue factor after 59 playoff games in three seasons

Washington Times: Trotz mulls changes to Ovechkin line: ‘Has to be better’ / Andre Burakovsky skates for first time since surgery /

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals vs. Penguins Game 5 NHL Playoffs 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream / Changes could be coming to the Caps' top line / Injured Caps forward Andre Burakovsky took a significant step in his recovery on Friday / Another questionable review leaves us all wondering: What is goalie interference? / Caps sign their top goalie prospect, will he be the future in net for Washington?

NHL.com: Penguins, Capitals focused on defense entering Game 5 / Burakovsky skates before Capitals practice, won't play in Game 5 / Samsonov signs entry-level contract with Capitals / Hidden gems unearthed by analytics for remaining playoff teams (Matt Niskanen mentioned)

AP: It’s Trotz’s move in chess match of Capitals-Penguins series / Capitals sign top goaltending prospect Ilya Samsonov

The Athletic: Vexing a goaltender is nothing new for Patric Hornqvist (Braden Holtby mentioned) / By the numbers: Contextualizing the heavyweight matchups in the second round (Capitals mentioned)

CBS Sports: 2018 Stanley Cup playoff odds: The Tampa Bay Lightning are the new favorites to win it all (Capitals mentioned)

Sports Capitol: Capitals winging it without Tom Wilson, Andre Burakovsky

SportsNet: Capitals sign top goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov to entry-level deal

STATS LLC: Capitals look to rebound from Game 4 loss to Penguins

TSN: Capitals ink KHL standout Samsonov to ELC

WTOP: Capitals rookie Shane Gersich hopes to build off Stanley Cup Playoff debut

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Capitals Locker Room | May 4 / Barry Trotz | May 4

106.7 The Fan: Sports Junkies: 5/4 Hour 1- Caps lose to Penguins (2:36, 24:00) / Sports Junkies: 5/4 Hour 2- Neil Greenberg (31:20) / Sports Junkies: 5/4 Hour 4- Caps without Wilson (2:50) / Chad Dukes vs. the World: 5-4-18 Hour 1 - Craig Laughlin (21:02) / Chad Dukes vs. the World: 5-4-18 Hour 2 - Chris Russell (12:32) / Grant and Danny: 5.4.18 Hour 1: Confidence in the Capitals (12:49, 23:25) / Grant and Danny: 5.4.18 Hour 3: Brian McNally and Ben Standig (0:05) / Grant and Danny: 5.4.18 Hour 4: Rob Carlin

CBS Sports: Penguins even up series against Capitals

ESPN: Quest for the Stanley Cup: Pens-Caps gets physical and Vegas continues its unlikely journey

NBC Sports Washington: No goalie interference? Holtby and Trotz react to the call / Caps-Pens Game 5 preview: Tougher and dirtier around Murray

NHL Network: NHL Now: Penguins even the series

Reuters: Keeping Score Podcast: From old mine to gold mine (Capitals mentioned)

SportsNet: The Hockey PDOcast: Deep diving Penguins vs. Capitals / Tape to Tape: May 4: Second-Round Battles and GM Searches (Capitals mentioned, 9:25) / 31 Thoughts: The Podcast: May 3, 2018: The Pugnacity, Testosterone, Truculence and Belligerence Edition (Tom Wilson mentioned) / On Point: NHL can't forget hockey needs a 'good, hard, clean bodycheck' (Tom Wilson mentioned)

TSN: The TSN Hockey Bobcast - Season 2 - Episode 17 (Tom Wilson mentioned)

Penguins Clips:

The Athletic: Marshall: A look at the Penguins’ defensive turnaround in Game 4

DK Pittsburgh Sports: Practice report: Sprong waiting for an opportunity / TV: DK on WPXI’s ‘11 On The Ice’ with Williams, Bourque

NHL.com: Penguins may stick with same lines for Game 5 against Capitals / Crosby, Penguins give hockey equipment to kid who lost his in fire

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Sidney Crosby delivers new equipment to 7-year-old whose family's house burned down / These Penguins are no strangers to adversity / Sean Gentille: Wait a second, Tom Wilson is actually pretty good / Daniel Sprong is back up with the Penguins and biding his time / Joe Starkey: The Penguins’ magic number

Trib Live: Mark Madden: Penguins out of sync but still in series / Kevin Gorman: Penguins forwards paying price by blocking shots / 'Dialed-in' Sidney Crosby still wows Penguins teammates with all-around game / Penguins' Patric Hornqvist shares wisdom with Capitals' Braden Holtby / Mike Sullivan: Penguins' Phil Kessel no more banged up than anyone else / Penguins' Sidney Crosby helps 7-year-old whose hockey gear was damaged in fire / Breaking down Jake Guentzel's playoff-leading 10-game stretch / Unlike postseasons past, talented Daniel Sprong a legitimate option for Penguins

GAME NOTES  
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