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Caps Today, 6/4/18

June 4, 2018
The Capitals face the Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena tonight in Game 4 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. The Capitals won Game 3, 3-1, on June 2 and lead the series 2-1.

Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded a goal and an assist in Game 3 and now has 18 points (7g, 11a) in his last 13 games. Earlier this postseason, Kuznetsov went on an 11 game point streak (6g, 10a), establishing a new franchise record for the longest point streak during the playoffs. Kuznetsov's point streak was the longest playoff point streak by any player since 2010 and just the fifth point streak of at least 11 games since 1997. Kuznetsov’s 27 points (12g, 15a) lead the playoffs and mark a franchise record for most points in a single postseason. Additionally, his 27 points are the fifth-highest point total in NHL history by a European-born player under the age of 25. Dating back to Feb. 24, Kuznetsov has 55 points (23g, 32a) in 40 games. Additionally, Kuznetsov is the eighth Russian-born player to record double digits in goals for a single playoff year and the fifth to do so at 25 or younger. In 61 career playoff games, Kuznetsov has recorded 46 points (23g, 23a), and his point total ranks 12th in franchise history.


The Great 8 - Caps captain Alex  Ovechkin scored his 14th goal of the postseason in Game 3, tying John Druce’s goal total in the 1990 playoffs for the most in franchise history. In addition, Ovechkin’s 14 goals are tied for the second-most goals by a Russian-born player in a single postseason in NHL history (Evgeni Malkin: 14, 2009; Pavel Bure: 16, 1994). Ovechkin is now one goal shy of Sidney Crosby (2009, 15 goals) for the most goals in a single postseason over the last 10 seasons. This postseason, Ovechkin has registered 25 points (14g, 11a) in 22 games and is two points shy of Evgeny Kuznetsov's current mark this postseason (Kuznetsov: 12g, 15a), which is the all-time franchise mark for points in a postseason. Ovechkin, who is fourth among active players with 60 career playoff goals, and is tied with Joe Mullen, Brendan Shanahan and Doug Gilmour for 31st in NHL history. Ovechkin’s .504 goals per game average is the eighth-highest rating in NHL history among players with at least 110 playoff games played. Among the top 10 active career playoff goal scorers, Ovechkin ranks fourth, and his 0.504 goals per game ranks first among players on that list. In 119 career playoff games, Ovechkin has 115 points (60g, 55a) and ranks first in franchise history in playoff games played, goals, points, power play goals (20), power play points (49), game-winning goals (8), shots (537) and second in assists. Ovechkin aims to become the third player in NHL history to score 600 career regular-season goals before winning his first Stanley Cup (Luc Robitaille: 620 goals before 2002 Cup; Dave Andreychuk 634 goals before 2004 Cup). Additionally, Ovechkin can become the 16th player in NHL history to play at least 1,000 career regular-season games before winning his first Cup and the second to do so with the team for which he has played at least 1,000 games (Steve Yzerman with Detroit). He also seeks to become the ninth player to have 1,000 career points before capturing his first Cup. If the Capitals win the series and capture the Stanley Cup, Ovechkin (Moscow, Russia) would become the first Russian player to captain a Stanley Cup champion. 

Holtbeast – Braden Holtby has posted a 14-7-0 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 21 games this postseason. His 14 wins set the Capitals' franchise record for most in a postseason. In his playoff career, Holtby has posted a record of 43-37 with six shutouts (tied with Kolzig for the franchise record), a 2.03 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in a franchise-record 80 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 51 of his 80 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 37-14 record in those games.

Super Carly - John Carlson recorded an assist in Game 3, his 18th point of the postseason (4g, 14a) and the most by a defenseman in Capitals history. Carlson’s 18 points are the most among defensemen in the playoffs and tied for the third-most in a single postseason by a defenseman over the last five years.. Carlson has recorded a point in 13 of the Capitals’ 22 games this postseason. In 98 career playoff games, which is the most in franchise history among defensemen, Carlson has 53 points (17g, 36a), which is tied with Scott Stevens for the second-most in franchise history by a defenseman and one point shy of tying Calle Johansson for the most in franchise history.

This Duo Though - Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who have primarily skated on the same line for the entirety of the playoffs, became the fourth set of teammates to score at least 12 goals in a single postseason over the last 20 years. On the ice together during five-on-five play, the duo has a 52.32 shot attempt percentage (304 shot attempts for, 277 against), a 55.24 shots for percentage (158 shots for, 128 shots against), a 54.55 scoring chance for percentage (150 scoring chances, 125 scoring chances against) and a 66.67 goals for percentage (18 goals for, 9 against).

Dirty Work - The Capitals blocked 26 shots in Game 3, the second-most blocked shots they've recorded in a single game this postseason (31 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, Eastern Conference semifinal, April 29, the third most in a game in the NHL this postseason). The Capitals have blocked 381 shots this postseason, the most in the NHL and 60 more than the second place Vegas Golden Knights. Additionally, the Capitals lead the playoffs in hits (725), 35 more hits than the second place Golden Knights. Over the last five seasons, the Capitals rank seventh in both blocked shots and hits in a single postseason in the NHL. Tom Wilson leads the postseason in hits (90), while Matt Niskanen leads the postseason in blocked shots (51).

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Aim for Third Straight Home Win in Monday's Game 4 / POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 3, Knights 1

Washington Post: The Capitals picked them up for cheap. Now they’re valuable pieces of a Stanley Cup run. / Capitals’ T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen describe ‘cool’ fan-packed Metro ride to Game 3 / At home in Russia, Alex Ovechkin brings out both love and resentment / Marc-Andre Fleury can’t be blamed for Golden Knights’ deficit / Boswell: Go ahead, Caps fans, get all-the-way excited. This team really is different. / D.C. Sports Bog: Who threw a crab? This Capitals fan required two pairs of underwear to pull it off. / Reliable Source: Redskins players cheer on the Caps at a charity bash

Washington Times: Blocked shots: a 'not-so-sexy' stat, but they show Capitals are all in / Oshie, Niskanen discuss their Metro trip to Capitals' Game 3 / D.C. hockey coach shaped generations of inner-city lives

NBC Sports Washington: Evgeny Kuznetsov invokes Michael Jordan after strong Game 3 performance / Oshie and Niskanen explain why they rode the Metro to Game 3 / Right on time, Devante Smith-Pelly is delivering big goals for the Caps / Conn Smythe Trophy watch: History in the making Holtby playing with regained confidence for Capitals in Stanley Cup Final / Capitals defense reaching new level in Cup Final against Golden Knights / Oshie, Capitals have good luck charm during Stanley Cup Final / Devorski rooting on Capitals, Golden Knights GMs in Stanley Cup Final / Oshie, Niskanen ride Metro with Capitals fans to Game 3 of Cup Final / Capitals won Game 3 of Final by moving puck faster than Golden Knights / Stanley Cup Final blog: Chandler Stephenson / Golden Knights look to keep it simple against Capitals in Game 3 / Kuznetsov’s presence would be huge boost for Capitals in Game 3

AP: Capitals’ suffocating pressure is frustrating Golden Knights

The Athletic: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan is not interested in vindication / NHL playoffs probabilities (updated daily)

Canadian Press: Knights hoping to again prove doubters wrong: 'We'll see what we're made of'

Los Angeles Times: Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final can be a defining moment

NBC Sports: Is the curtain beginning to close on the Vegas Golden Knights?

New York Times: The Capitals Purge Their Past, One Win at a Time

NHLPA: Playoff Performer Of The Night | Evgeny Kuznetsov

QMI Agency: The Precious Contribution Of Evgeny Kuznetsov (Link in French)

RDS: When DSP rhymes with GSP / T.J. Oshie and David Perron remember / Alex Ovechkin: just back things (Links in French)

Sporting News: Stanley Cup Final 2018: How Capitals' defense keeps adapting, frustrating NHL's fastest teams / Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals' Brooks Orpik 'fine' following James Neal's hit in Game 3 / Stanley Cup Final 2018: Mamma Lucia's fuels Alex Ovechkin, Capitals fans before Game 3

Sports Capitol: OPEN ADMIRERS: Former Capitals watching, rooting from afar / Up, down and all-around for DSP since joining the Capitals

SportsNet: Vegas not rattled by doubters, but looking for Golden Misfits form / Oshie, Niskanen ride subway to Game 3 with sea of Capitals fans

Sports Xchange: Stanley Cup Finals: Golden Knights look to tie series with Capitals

STATS LLC: Knights look to tie series with Capitals

The Trentonian: Capitals star Alex Ovechkin quieting the last of his critics

TSN: Here's a look at the enormous meal Ovechkin eats before every home game / Oshie & Niskanen explained why they took the train to Game 3 while chuckling about the experience / A Capitals fan brought the sign/prop of the playoffs to Game 3 of the SCF / Caps fan may have started new tradition after throwing this crustacean on the ice during Game 3 / The Caps are countering the Imagine Dragons Game 2 performance with band of their own for Game 4 / Ovechkin and Kuznetsov just joined Crosby and Malkin in an incredible playoff club / Alex Ovechkin had the greatest reaction to Evgeny Kuznetsov's goal / Kenan Thompson chirped the Jets while doing hilarious impersonation of Steve Harvey in Game 3 / A Caps defenceman temporarily left the ice after a brutal wipe-out in warmups / 'Wheel of Fortune' host Pat Sajak made one mistake while announcing starting lineups for Game 3

TVA Sports: Ovechkin Leadership: A Contagious Passion / NHL 360 (Links in French)

USA Today: Picture perfect: Caps fans celebrate Stanley Cup Final on steps of nation's living room / Brooks Orpik: 'Just got the wind knocked out of me' on hit by James Neal

WNST: Caps Take Series Lead With First Home Stanley Cup Final Triumph

WTOP: Legendary Capitals Voice to Return to Radio Booth for Game 4 of Cup Final / Business boost for bars around Capital One Arena

WUSA 9: A journey through Caps history with the original announcer

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: All-Access | Two To Go / Orpik, Wilson & Connolly | June 3 / Matt Niskanen & TJ Oshie | June 3 / Barry Trotz | June 3

CBS Sports: How will Knights respond while being down?

ESPN: Ovechkin, Capitals looking for 3-1 lead in Stanley Cup Final / Sun, 6/3 - In the Crease - Capitals halfway to a Stanley Cup

Japers’ Rink: JRR Episode 93: Home Cooking (Round 4, Game 3 Recap)

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Hersch on Vegas / NHL Tonight: Capitals Update / NHL Tonight: Tarik El-Bashir / NHL Tonight: Chris Johnston / NHL Tonight: Rupp on Game 3

SportsNet: Orpik On Crobsy, Ovechkin And Hit By Former Teammate James Neal / Trotz Believes Depth Scoring Crucial To Capitals' Success / Capitals Creating Their Own History / Cup Check – Game 3 – VGK 1, WSH 3

TSN: The Panel: Capitals' 'picket fence' on the blue line slowing down Vegas / Niskanen: 'People doubted if we had the personnel to be good this year' / Orpik asked to compare Sid and Ovi: 'How much time we got?' / Trotz: 'This is the most complete Ovi we've seen' / Smith-Pelly: Only halfway to what we want / Good start key for Ovechkin, Capitals / Kuznetsov draws MJ analogy after Game 3

WNST: Caps historian and author Ted Starkey joins Nestor recap Game 3 win over Golden Knights in Washington / Ed Frankovic and Nestor recap glorious Game 3 win by Caps over Vegas in Washington

WJLA-TV ABC 7: Live Hit from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (6 a.m.) / Live Hit from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (5 a.m.)

WRC-TV NBC 4: Live Hit from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (5 a.m.) / Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (5 a.m.) / Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (6 a.m.) / Live from Kettler Capitals Iceplex (6 a.m.)

Golden Knights Clips:

AP: Theodore’s struggles have Golden Knights in Cup Final hole / Vegas returns to underdog role after Stanley Cup lapse Golden Knights remain confident entering Game 4 against Capitals / Golden Knights will 'see what we're made of' heading into Game 4 of Final / Golden Knights success seen as positive for NHL by GMs, executives

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Golden Knights’ scorers need to dig deeper for Game 4 / Golden Knights expected to bring best effort to even series / Shea Theodore must bounce back from his Wheel of Misfortune / Knights pause to reflect on sudden turn in Stanley Cup Final / Knights’ Nosek hopes to bring Stanley Cup back to Czech Republic / Goalie Malcolm Subban returns to practice for Golden Knights / Capitals defensive focus causing havoc among Knights / Golden Edge: Golden Knights not worried after dropping 2 to Capitals / T-Mobile Arena opening doors for Golden Knights fans for Game 4

NBC Sports: Is the curtain beginning to close on the Vegas Golden Knights?

SinBin.Vegas: Vegas’ 2nd Line Not Producing On Either End Of The Ice

TSN: Vegas' top line a disappearing act in Cup Final so far

USA Today: Vegas Golden Knights look to regain momentum vs. Capitals to avoid becoming a footnote