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Caps Today, 5/17/18

May 17, 2018
The Capitals face the Tampa Bay Lightning at Capital One Arena tonight in Game 4 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Final. The Capitals lead the series 2-1. 

Entering Game 4, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin has registered 19 points (10g, 9a) and 10 goals, tied for second in the NHL, in 15 games this postseason. Ovechkin's 19 points are two shy of his own mark set during the 2009 playoffs. In addition, Ovechkin is now four goals shy of the franchise record for most goals in the postseason set by John Druce, when he scored 14 goals in 15 games in 1990. Ovechkin has registered 56 career postseason goals, which is tied with Steve Larmer and Dennis Potvin for the 42nd most in NHL history. Ovechkin has recorded eight multi-point games this postseason, tied with Mark Scheifele for the most in the NHL. Additionally, Ovechkin is tied for third among active NHL players (min. 20 games played) in career playoff goals per game (0.50) and tied for fifth in playoff points per game (0.98). Among the top 10 active career playoff goal scorers, Ovechkin ranks sixth, and his 0.50 goals per game ranks first among player on that list. In 112 career playoff games, Ovechkin has 109 points (56g, 53a), and ranks first in franchise history in playoff games played, goals, points, power play goals (19), power play points (48), game-winning goals (7), shots (513) and second in assists.

TOP GAME NOTES

Kuz Control - Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded his ninth goal of the postseason and extended his point streak to six games (4g, 7a)  in Game 3. Kuznetsov’s 20 points lead the Capitals. Kuznetsov is now one point shy of the Capitals’ all-time postseason mark set by Alex Ovechkin (21) in 2009. In addition, Kuznetsov became the seventh different Russian-born player to record at least 20 points in a single postseason, a feat that has been accomplished just eight times in NHL history.

Oh What a Line - With the absence of Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller has primarily centered Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie. The trio has a positive shot attempt percentage (59 shot attempts for, 39 against, 60.20 shot attempt percentage), a positive scoring chance for percentage (31 scoring chances for, 18 against, 63.27 scoring chance for percentage) and have yet to allow a single goal against.

Putting in Work - Alex Ovechkin recorded nine shots on goal, which is the second-most by a Capital this postseason (Ovechkin: Game 2 versus Columbus Blue Jackets). Additionally, Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov finished with 20 on-ice shot attempts at five-on-five. Together, the Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson line produced 19 shot attempts at five-on-five in Game 3, while allowing eight (70.37 shot attempt percentage).

Holtbeast – Braden Holtby has posted a 10-4-0 record with a 2.18 goals-against average (second among goaltenders currently in the playoffs) and .926 save percentage (fourth among goaltenders with at least five games played) in 14 games this postseason. His 10 wins are two shy of the Capitals' franchise record for most in a postseason (Olie Kolzig: 1998). In his career, Holtby has posted a record of 39-34 with four shutouts, a 2.03 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in a franchise-record 73 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 47 of his 73 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 33-14 record in those games. Washington and Tampa Bay will play all potential seven games this series on one day of rest. 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.

Red Hot Conno - Brett Connolly has goals in two-straight games and points in three-straight games (2g, 1a). Connolly has four goals in the playoffs, entering the postseason without a playoff goal. Connolly recorded 15 goals this year, his second-straight season with 15 goals, which is his career high, and his 19 goals between the regular season and playoffs is the most he's produced in a single year.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Clash with Bolts in Game 4 on Thursday / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Bolts 4, Caps 2

Washington Post: Nicklas Backstrom may be nearing return from hand injury, even if it means no faceoffs / Unburdened by previous playoff baggage, Capitals’ young players help carry the load / Steven Stamkos is healthy, confident and ready to lead the Lightning’s comeback / D.C. Council member Jack D.C. Sports Bog: Evans says Metro deal with Qatar ahead of Caps’ Game 4 ‘hit a snag’ / After Tom Wilson hit, Anton Stralman won’t get suspension

Washington Times: Capitals have ‘got to be desperate’ for Game 4 / Metro won’t stay open late Thursday for Capitals’ Game 4

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals vs. Lightning Game 4 Eastern Conference Finals 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream / Shutting down Tampa's power play is now priority No. 1 for the Caps

NHL.com: Backstrom injury taking toll on Capitals in series against Lightning / Capitals focused on improving penalty kill for Game 4 against Lightning / Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz: Glitter awaits Golden Knights

AP: Capitals have home-ice disadvantage for Game 4 vs. Lightning

The Athletic: T.J. Oshie’s new clothing line is his way of giving back the gifts he’s been given / NHL playoffs probabilities (updated daily)

Bleacher Report: NHL Playoffs 2018: Updated Stanley Cup Scores, Standings and Predictions

CBS Sports: NHL Playoffs 2018: Qatar tried to pay to keep D.C. Metro open later for Capitals-Lightning game

ESPN: Tom Wilson: Hard check by Anton Stralman left 'goose egg' on head

NBC 4 Washington: Caps' Playoff Run Provides Good Distraction for Woman Battling Cancer

NBC Sports: Tom Wilson not a fan of Anton Stralman’s Game 3 hit / Caps fan doesn’t let cancer treatment stop her from attending playoff games

Ottawa Sun: Capitals need Backstrom back for crucial Game 4 at home

Reuters: Capitals look to regain momentum in Game 4 vs. Lightning

Richmond.com: The morning briefing: Sports news to know on May 17 (Capitals mentioned)

Sporting News: Conn Smythe power rankings: Top 10 candidates for NHL's playoff MVP so far (Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov mentioned)

Sports Capitol: Capitals still waiting, hoping on injured Nicklas Backstrom

Sports Illustrated: Even After a Loss, Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals Remain Calm

SportsNet: Ron and Don: Why teams are thriving on the road (Capitals mentioned) / Wilson on Stralman hit: If I did that ‘100 per cent’ I’m suspended / Lightning’s success hinging on ultra-competitive Andrei Vasilevskiy / What the Lightning changed to find success in Game 3 vs. Capitals / Capitals re-sign defenseman Aaron Ness to two-way deal

Sports Xchange: Lightning look to even series vs. Caps

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Gordo: Plenty of what-ifs around Blues' trade of Oshie

The Trentonian: Road teams finding ways to win in Stanley Cup playoffs

UPI: Stanley Cup playoffs: Lightning get first win vs. Capitals

The Winchester Star: Capitals want to help fund skate rink at Frederick school

WTOP: Metro Board pleads for someone ‘to step up,’ cover late service after Caps playoff games

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Caps Locker Room | May 16 / Rinkside Update | Jay Beagle / Barry Trotz | May 16

106.7 The Fan: Sports Junkies: 5/16 Hour 4- Ken Daneyko (13:40) / Chad Dukes vs. the World: 5-16-18 Hour 1 - Craig Laughlin (5:40) / Chad Dukes vs. the World: 5-16-18 Hour 2 - John Carlson (18:02) / Grant and Danny: 5.16.18 Hour 1: Caps Drop Game 3 / Grant and Danny: 5.16.18 Hour 3: Caps Cause for Concern? (9:59) / Grant and Danny: 5.16.18 Hour 4: Chris Russell live from Kettler (0:05)

NBC Sports: Caps' line led by Ovi, Kuznetsov special to watch

NHL.com: NHL LiveWire: WSH vs. TBL, Gm2

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Backstrom in Game 4 / NHL Tonight: ECF Game 3 Recap / NHL Now: Breaking down ECF Game 3 / NHL Now: Raby on Caps in Game 4

Sports Capitol: Red Line: Lightning-Capitals Game 4 preview; Backstrom ready?

SportsNet: Wilson Calls Out Stralman For Illegal Hit From Behind

TSN Hamilton 1150: Roe: Capitals let big opportunity slip

TSN Montreal: Kelly: Eller can't produce in top-6 role forever / Laughlin: Let Tom Wilson play his game / McKenzie: Playoff hockey has changed (Capitals mentioned)

TSN Toronto 1050: Traikos: Ovechkin is one of the greatest of our generation and maybe all time

Lightning Clips:

The Athletic: Steve Yzerman’s experience with ‘Russian Five’ shaped how he built Lightning

The Hockey News: Tampa Bay's Development Model Is Paying Off

NHL.com: Vasilevskiy conjuring visions of countryman Tretiak for Lightning / Stamkos aims to keep Lightning power play on target in Game 4

Raw Charge: Steve Yzerman named finalist for NHL’s 2018 GM of the Year Award / Quick Reaction: Tampa Bay Lightning make a series of it after game three win

Sports Illustrated: Young, Talented and in the Stanley Cup Hunt, the Lightning Are Poised for Long-Term Success

TampaBayLightning.com: Steve Yzerman named finalist for NHL GM of the Year Award / Lightning vs. Capitals: Projected lines, storylines, injuries /

Tampa Bay Times: Lightning-Capitals: What the Game 3 victory proved about Tampa Bay / There’s gold in that Lightning bling for team’s grateful official jeweler / Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning stars shine in Game 3 win / Lightning journal: Laying it all on the (same) line / Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones takeaways from Game 3

GAME NOTES
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