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Caps Today, 6/7/18

June 7, 2018
The Washington Capitals are one win away from winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, and they will face the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena tonight in Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

Since Barry Trotz became head coach and Brian MacLellan was promoted to general manager in 2014, the Capitals have posted a record of 35-27 in the playoffs. During that span, Washington has registered the third-most playoff wins and has played the second most playoff games in the NHL, behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. Of the players currently on the roster for the Capitals, 11 players were directly acquired by MacLellan, and 22 have either signed or re-signed with the Capitals over the last four years. During the regular season, the Capitals hold a 205-89-34 record over the last four years and the lead the NHL in wins. Additionally, the Capitals 1,003 goals for rank third, while their 805 goals against rank second. Washington is the only team in the NHL to rank in the top-5 in both respective categories. Additionally, Washington's 23.2 power play percentage ranks first, while their 82.6 penalty kill percentage ranks sixth.

Kuz Control- Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded four assists in Game 4 to match a single-game Stanley Cup Final record, achieved by 11 other players (most recent: Colorado’s Joe Sakic in Game 2 of the 1996 Final). Kuznetsov’s four assists also equaled a Capitals’ single-game playoff record, achieved by Scott Stevens in Game 6 of the 1988 Patrick Division Final against New Jersey and Andrei Nikolishin in Game 3 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Final against Buffalo. Kuznetsov, who leads the playoffs with 31 points (12g, 19a) in 23 games, became the fifth NHL player since 1997 to register 30 or more points in a single postseason. Kuznetsov (Chelyabinsk, Russia), who owns a five-point lead over teammate Alex Ovechkin (14g-12a), is seeking to become the third Russian-born player to lead the NHL in postseason scoring since 1943-44. The only two thus far: Detroit’s Sergei Fedorov (Pskov, Russia) in 1995 and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (Magnitogorsk, Russia) in 2009 and 2017, respectively. 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 currently has 22 points (7g, 15a) in his last 14 games. Dating back to Feb. 24, Kuznetsov has 59 points (23g, 36a) in 41 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.

The Great 8 - Caps captain Alex  Ovechkin has 14 goals this posteseason, 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 26 points (14g, 12a). Ovechkin, who is fourth among active players with 60 career playoff goals, 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 120 career playoff games, Ovechkin has 116 points (60g, 56a) 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 (541) 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. 

Super Carly - John Carlson scored in Game 4 to record his 54th career playoff point (18g, 36a). That point total matches Calle Johansson (12g, 42a in 95 games) for the most postseason points by a defenseman in Capitals history. Carlson also owns the franchise playoff record for goals by a blueliner (18) and ranks third in assists by a defenseman (36), behind Scott Stevens (44) and Johansson (42). Carlson's 19 points this postseason (5g, 14a) are the most points by a defenseman in Capitals history in a single postseason, and his 19 points are the most among defensemen this postseason and the third most in a single postseason by a defenseman over the last five years. Carlson has recorded a point in 14 of the Capitals’ 23 games this postseason. 

Holtbeast – Braden Holtby has posted a 15-7-0 record with a 2.13 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in 22 games this postseason. His 15 wins set the Capitals' franchise record for most in a postseason. In his playoff career, Holtby has posted a record of 44-37 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 81 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 52 of his 81 career playoff games and Washington has posted a 38-14 record in those games.

All That Power - The Caps converted on three of their five power play opportunities in Game 4. That marked the second time during the postseason Washington recorded three power play goals in a single game (Eastern Conference quarterfinal versus Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 2, April 15) and the 14th time in franchise history. The Capitals have converted on 21 of their 71 power play opportunities this postseason, good for a 29.6 percent success rate. Among teams with at least 60 opportunities, only two have converted at a higher rate during a single playoff year since the NHL officially began tracking power-play percentage in 1977-78 (1981 New York Islanders: 31 of 82, 37.8 percent; 1994 Toronto Maple Leafs: 22 of 74, 29.7 percent). The Capitals hold a 12-3 record this postseason when they score a power play goal. Eight different Capitals have recorded a power play point this postseason, with Nicklas Backstrom (12a) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (3g, 9a) leading the team and the playoffs in power play points.

Must Read/See/Hear Material

Dump ‘n Chase: Caps Take Aim at Cup in Game 5 in Vegas

Washington Post: The Captain, the Cup and history: Alex Ovechkin on brink of uncharted territory / Capitals’ Chandler Stephenson has parlayed his versatility into a bright NHL future / Golden Knights’ Karlsson skips practice, but will play in Game 5 / Svrluga: As Barry Trotz and the Capitals near the peak, who knows what’s on the other side? / D.C. Sports Bog: This fan spent 15 years visiting NHL arenas. He’ll add Vegas to the list with Game 5. / D.C. Sports Bog: Capitals Game 5 watch party sells out in minutes, amid massive demand / D.C. Sports Bog: ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt says there’s nothing ‘minor league’ about D.C.’s Caps hysteria / D.C. Sports Bog: Capitals Game 5 watch party sells out in minutes, amid massive demand / D.C. Sports Bog: A brief oral history of the Capitals fans who threw crabs at the 1998 Stanley Cup finals / Gridlock: Metro to remain open an extra hour for Stanley Cup game 5 — an away game / Going Out Guide: Didn’t get tickets to the Capitals Game 5 watch party? Head to one of these spots instead.

Washington Times: From hot laps to playoff beards, superstitious Capitals stick to their ways / Inside the race car helmet the Capitals wear after each win

NBC Sports Washington: Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 5 Stanley Cup Final: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live stream / Just a win away from history, Capitals treating business as usual / Over 70,000 people tried to get tickets to the Capitals Game 5 watch party / With a Game 5 win, the Caps will claim the Cup... and match an impressive record

NHL.com: 5 Keys: Capitals at Golden Knights, Game 5 / Capitals convinced chance to win Stanley Cup 'just another hockey game' / Ovechkin focused on Game 5 with Capitals one win from Stanley Cup / Stanley Cup with Capitals can 'cement' Ovechkin's legacy, Roenick says / Capitals' contenders for Conn Smythe Trophy debated by NHL.com / Seiling pulling for Capitals to win Stanley Cup / Stanley Cup Final buzz: Ovechkin one win from Stanley Cup / Stanley Cup Final blog: Chandler Stephenson

AP: Stanley Cup run could make up for Capitals’ playoff failures / Capitals eager to end their title drought in Vegas desert

247 Sports: Washington Redskins celebrate Capitals blowout win

ARL Now: New Caps Banner Above Columbia Pike Prompts Community Consternation

The Athletic: LeBrun: Interest in Grubauer, options for Trotz, plus activity in Buffalo, Carolina, Arizona and Ottawa

Baltimore Sun: Washington Metro to stay open late for Capitals fans watching Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final / Free tickets for Stanley Cup Game 5 viewing party inside Capital One Arena gone in 10 minutes

Buffalo News: Mike Harrington: Capitals can erase lots of sordid history with one more win / Stanley Cup notebook: Golden Knights on the comeback trail

Canadian Press: Caps trying not to get ahead of themselves with Stanley Cup in sight

CBS Sports: Golden Knights vs. Capitals odds, Game 5: NHL expert on 26-5 run makes picks for 2018 Stanley Cup Final

Columbus Dispatch: Michael Arace | Capitals’ title would twist knife for Blue Jackets

The Edwardsville Intelligencer: Why Braden Holtby, Kyler Murray and Stan Beeman Are TV’s Social Media MVPs of the Week

ESPN: Why hockey players don't say "I" / 70,000 Capitals fans log on for tickets to Game 5 viewing party / Inspired Redskins aim to capitalize on Capitals fever

Forbes: Stanley Cup Finals 2018 Game 5: Capitals Vs Golden Knights Schedule, TV, Time, NHL Odds, Predictions

FOX 5 D.C.: Metro will run for extra hour Thursday night for Caps fans watching Stanley Cup Final Game 5 in DC / 90-year-old Washington Capitals superfan 'guardedly optimistic' for Stanley Cup victory / Caps public address announcer Wes Johnson enjoying front row seat of team's quest for Stanley Cup

The Hockey News: Capitals' Smith-Pelly Set For Big Payday After Heroics In Stanley Cup Final

Los Angeles Times: A White House invitation, and all its ramifications, could await the next Stanley Cup champion / Capitals on the brink of a party on the Strip

NBC 4 Washington: Capital One Arena to Host Free Mystics Game, Capitals Game 5 Viewing Party

NBC Sports: Capitals’ shot blocking part of all-in mentality fueling Stanley Cup run / Only one team has erased 3-1 Final deficit, and it was madness / Conn Smythe Power Rankings: Kuznetsov climbs to the top / Golden Knights no longer being saved by Marc-Andre Fleury

New York Times: Why N.H.L. Teams May Not Enjoy the Comforts of Home Ice

NJ.com: NHL Stanley Cup Finals 2018 on TV today (6/7/18): What time, channel is Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 5? Livestream, watch online

Patch: Capitals Viewing Party Sells Out Instantly

Prince George Citizen: Connolly, Capitals closing in on Stanley Cup

Sacramento Bee: Washington is a win from ending 26-year wait. Which of these title-starved cities is next?

Sporting News: Stanley Cup Final 2018: Capitals carrying hopes of championship-starved Washington, D.C. / Stanley Cup Final 2018: Don Cherry doesn't like Capitals 'bird man' Evgeny Kuznetsov

Sports Business Journal: Capitals' Stanley Cup Final Watch Party Bodes Well For Mystics

Sports Capitol: Capitals know advantages, and dangers, of 3-1 lead

Sports Illustrated: Original Capitals Owner Irene Pollin Enjoying Team's Run in Stanley Cup Final / How Many Stanley Cups Have the Capitals Won?

SportsNet: Capitals’ Stephenson hoping to honour Humboldt with Stanley Cup win / Why Capitals’ Barry Trotz might leave Washington a champion / Canadiens’ Alzner is ‘super jealous’ about Capitals’ Stanley Cup run / Capitals small underdogs for Game 5 with Stanley Cup in sight

Sports Xchange: Golden Knights plan to stay alive vs. Capitals

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Tipsheet: Hockey-loving Scherzer cheers on Capitals' Cup quest

Trib Live: Analysis: Some Pittsburghers will be fine with Capitals winning Stanley Cup. How? / Capitals fans willing to pay thousands to see team lift Stanley Cup

TSN: Trotz one win from a hockey life come full circle in Washington / One obscure stat that shows the resilience of the 2018 Washington Capitals / Knights series vs. season exemplified by eye-opening 3-game stretch stats / The Caps and Knights have played an insanely disproportionate amount of overtime this post-season

USA Today: From 500-1 odds to a 3-1 in Stanley Cup Final deficit: How Golden Knights can do unthinkable again / Which Stanley Cup Final city is more sinful, Las Vegas or Washington?

Washington Business Journal: Monumental Sports keeping Metro open late Thursday, and more Caps news ahead of Game 5

Washington City Paper: Ready or Not, Downtown D.C. is Gearing Up for a Capitals' Stanley Cup Title

Washingtonian: Will DC Grease Poles If the Caps Win? It’s Unclear / Lynda Carter Explains Why You Should Become a Caps Fan

WJLA: Capitals watch party tickets sell out in minutes for Stanley Cup Final Game 5 / Washington Capitals' cutest fan, 'Puck Girl,' goes viral again after Game 4 celebration

WTOP: Jay Beagle’s journey comes full circle as Capitals eye Stanley Cup in Vegas / Rock the Red: Show WTOP your Caps gear ahead of Game 5 / Where to watch, how to get around: What fans need to know for Caps Stanley Cup Game 5 / Metro to stay open late for fans to watch Thursday’s Game 5 / Tickets to Caps Game 5 watch party at Capital One Arena sell out in minutes

WUSA 9: Best places to watch Caps Game 5 if you couldn't get into the Capital One Arena watch party / She said yes! Caps fans get engaged on flight to Vegas

Yahoo! Puck Daddy: Puck Daddy Countdown: Kuznetzov proving he's one of the best draft-day steals ever

TV/Audio Clips:

Washington Capitals: Capitals Locker Room | June 6 / NHL Tonight: Devante Smith-Pelly / Caps 365 | June 6 / Barry Trotz | June 6 / All-Access | We Want the Cup

ESPN: The mic'd up moments of Washington's Game 4 win

Last Word on Hockey: The 4th Line Hockey Podcast #186 – Washington Capitals Aim for Stanley Cup

NBC Sports: Keys for Capitals vs. Golden Knights Game 5 / Caps' Oshie has shined in Stanley Cup Final

NBC Sports Washington: D.C. sports in unison as Nats stars support Caps' cup run / Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman lead 'Let's Go Caps' at Game 4

NHL Network: NHL Tonight: Capitals fans / NHL Tonight: Conn Smythe Trophy / NHL Tonight: One win away / NHL Tonight: Devante Smith-Pelly / NHL Tonight: Tom Wilson breakdown / NHL Now: Elliotte Friedman / NHL Now: Tarik El-Bashir / NHL Now: Conn Smythe conversation / NHL Now: Evgeny Kuznetsov

Sports Capitol: RED LINE: Capitals on the brink in Las Vegas

SportsNet: Tape to Tape NHL Podcast: Who could still win the Conn Smythe Trophy? / Ovechkin, Capitals Know Game 5 Will Be Toughest One Yet / Capitals Focused On Eliminating Golden Knights, Not Vegas After Party / Capitals Have A 'Quiet Confidence' Ahead Of Game 5 / Bylsma 'Caps Have Had Better Teams Prior To This Year' / NHL Ref Rank Laughs Off Ovechkin Shot To Face

TSN: Smith-Pelly to skip White House visit if Caps win Cup / Button's Stanley Cup scorecard through 4 games / What's it like being one win away from the Stanley Cup? / Ovi trying not to focus on magnitude of Game 5 but 'it's hard' / Ovechkin and the Capitals just focused on Game 5

TSN Montreal 690: 3 Starr Quiz: Are you disappointed with the Stanley Cup Final?

TSN Ottawa 1200: McGuire: Stanley Cup win could bring about changes to the Capitals

TSN Toronto 1050: Lawless: I'm blown away the Stanley Cup Final isn't tied 2-2 / McKenzie: Expect Vegas will come out with their "A" game tomorrow night

TSN Vancouver 1040: Wyshynski: Vegas' offensive flow completely interrupted; can't find answers for Ovechkin line / Allen: Feels like the Caps will close out the SCF in Game 5

USA Today: For the Win Podcast - Part 2: Inside the 2018 Stanley Cup Final

Golden Knights Clips:

AP: Golden Knights’ inaugural season more than Cup for some fans

The Athletic: With elaborate pregame shows, Vegas making other teams up their game / Systems Analyst: The (James Neal) Miss and what that moment meant for the Stanley Cup final

NHL.com: Golden Knights still believe impossible is possible in Cup Final / Golden Knights could make changes for Game 5 of Cup Final / Golden Knights must show sense of urgency against Capitals in Game 5 / Golden Knights have faith in Fleury for Game 5 against Capitals / Stanley Cup Final blog: Ryan Carpenter

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Karlsson absent from Knights practice, but will play in Game 5 / Golden Knights’ William Carrier ready to return for Game 5 / Capitals’ plan vs. Knights remains same as they look to hoist Cup / Handicapper likes Knights to stave off elimination in Game 5 / Capitals throw block party in path of Golden Knights / Prop bets for Golden Knights-Capitals Stanley Cup Game 5 / Nevada museum gathering Vegas Golden Knights memorabilia

Las Vegas Sun: Despite facing elimination, Golden Knights comfortable in familiar underdog role / Stanley Cup by the odds: Sports book preview and pick of Game 5

SinBin.Vegas: The Ugly Numbers Behind 3-1 / The Golden Knights Haven’t Been Here Before, But They Feel Like They Have

SportsNet: Analyzing why Fleury’s performance has stalled in Stanley Cup Final

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