Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Caps V Pens - Holtby In, Ovi 4 from 50

March 12, 2019, 3:11 PM ET [8 Comments]
Marcus Boutilier
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The 41-21-7 Washington Capitals are in first place by 2 points and will look to win a season-high 8 games in a row as they pay a visit to Pittsburgh to take on the Metro division rival Penguins with a 37-23-9 record. Tonight’s matchup is important to both teams beyond the natural rivalry as the Caps are in a fight with the Islanders for the division lead and the Pens are battling to stay in the playoff picture as they sit 4th in the division, 6 points back of Washington.

The Caps have been playing better hockey since the All-Star break and have suffered only 3 regulation losses in their last 15 games and are 9-1 in their last 10. While some of the wins have not been pretty, they have been collecting points and are starting to turn the corner as the playoffs draw closer with 13 games to play.

The additions of Carl Hagelin and Nick Jensen have continued to aid the Caps as both players have filled in smoothly and have helped bolster a weak penalty kill. Hagelin now has 2 goals (including a GWG) and an assist in his last 5 games and has been a threat while shorthanded. His speed is ever evident while killing penalties as you can see how his strong forecheck is forcing teams into turnovers. He has taken 4 minor penalties in 8 games with the Caps, so you’d like that number to slow down.

Alex Ovechkin hasn’t registered a point in two games but has 13 points his past 12 games including 8 goals. Leon Draisaitl scored last night in the Oilers win over the Rangers and now has 42 goals to sit four back of NHL leader Ovechkin (46). He needs one point to have 1,200 over his career and sits three goals behind Brendan Shanahan for 13th All-time.

Braden Holtby will be back in the net for the Caps after coach Todd Reirden sat the workhorse for rest while Pheonix Copley made 33 saves in the 3-1 win over Winnipeg last Sunday. Since a loss to Buffalo on the 23rd of February, Holtby is 5-0 and registered his 3rd shutout in his last game vs New Jersey. He’s allowed only 8 goals over that span as he looks to be rounding into form for the post-season, unlike last year when he was struggling a bit at this time.

Nicklas Backstrom has been playing well as he enters tonight's game in Pittsburgh on a 3-game goal scoring streak and has 9 points in his last 7 games.

Tonight’s game starts at 7PM EST from PPG Paints Arena.

Capital Gain:

John Carlson became the third defenseman in Capitals franchise history to have multiple 50-assist seasons joining Larry Murphy and Scott Stevens.

Devante Smith-Pelley is playing well with the Hershey Bears in the AHL since being sent down. I expect we will see him again in DC come playoff time.

The playoffs start in less than one month …

2018 Draft selection Kody Clark is having a fine season in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s as they are ranked 4th in the country and will start their drive for a Memorial Cup next week.

Join the Discussion: » 8 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Marcus Boutilier
» Game 7 - Caps can become only team to make second round for 5 years running
» Can Caps clinch on the Road? Game 6
» Best of three - Game 5 Tonight Caps better TakeWarning - No Oshie
» Game 4 - Caps need to be better. Lineup Changes announced
» Caps Up 2-0 Head into Hurricane Country - Game 3