Caps 4, Devils 3 - Capitals Ride Power Play to Overcome Slow Start
The Washington Capitals battled back for a 4-3 win against a very competitive New Jersey Devils Squad. Entering the today’s tilt, the Capitals had a five-point lead over the Devils but had played four more games than New Jersey. The Devils technically had a better point percentage (1.16 points per game) compared to the Capitals, who had 1.11 points per game average. This Devils team may not be what most people consider "elite", but man are they competitive.
Here are the stats from the game today:
Shots on Goal:
WSH – 41
NJD – 26
WSH – 3/4
NJD – 1/3
WSH – 12
NJD – 19
WSH – 15
NJD – 10
WSH – 66
NJD – 62
Chances For (5v5):
WSH – 56
NJD – 49
Scoring Chances For:
WSH – 26
NJD – 21
Scoring Chances For (5v5):
WSH – 21
NJD – 16
High Danger Chances For:
WSH – 15
NJD – 10
High Danger Chances For: (5v5):
WSH – 12
NJD – 7
Takeaways From The Game:
1. Slow Start for the Caps - For the first 10 minutes of the game, it was pretty much all New Jersey. The Devils out shot the Caps 7-0 and even scored a power play goal. For the first half of the first period, it looked a lot like the Rangers game the night before. After giving up that goal, the Capitals would eventually find a little rhythm and end up out-shooting the Devils 11-3 the rest of the period and 41-19 the rest of the game. The Capitals must break this habit of slow starts, it seems to be a recurring event the past couple weeks.
2. Power Play Shines at Home – The Capitals entered the game today against the Devils with the 3rd best home power play % at 45%. The Devils entered today’s game with the 30th ranked Penalty Kill on the road at just a 57.1% kill rate. Something had to give with this mismatch...and boy did it ever! The Capitals went 3/4 on the power play with goals two goals from Oshie and a goal from Ovechkin (off the feed from Oshie.) The Capitals “outchanced” the Devils 9-1 during power play opportunities. After today’s game, the Capitals now possess a 50% power play percentage at home which is good for 2nd best in the league. The Capitals had a massive mismatch here with Special teams and they were able to exploit it this game. It took them awhile to crack Dell but eventually they did and from there the floodgates would open.
3. Craig Anderson Debut – This was both Craig Anderson and Aaron Dell’s first game since exactly 03/11/2020. It has been almost a year since either goalie has suited up. I thought both goaltenders played extremely well throughout the majority of the game. Craig Anderson may have faced less shots than Dell, but he certainly kept the Capitals in this game early on when the Devils were buzzing. It could have easily been a 3-0 possibly even 4-0 lead for the Devils if some of the early chances find the back of the Net. For his first game in almost a year, he looked pretty solid. Not perfect…but solid.
Here are some random stats/facts from the game:
-Alex Ovechkin scored the 262nd power-play goal of his NHL career to move within three of tying Brett Hull (265) for 2nd place on the league’s all-time list. Dave Andreychuk has 274.
-Craig Anderson earned his first win as a Capital and his 290th career win, the ninth-most among active goaltenders.
-The Capitals’ win against New Jersey marked their first win this season when trailing after two periods (1-3-0).
-Nicklas Backstrom recorded his second assist of the game, making him two shy of the 700 assist mark. That ranks him T-55th all-time in NHL history for assists. Backstrom also ranks 5th for Swedish born players and is 15 assists shy of tying Daniel Alfredsson for 4th all-time.
To recap, it was tough to see the Capitals go down 0-2 in the game. However when it was all said and done, the better team got the win today. The Capitals had more shots, chances, high danger chances, power play goals, faceoffs, blocks, and controlled the majority of play at 5v5. Lastly, I just wanted to mention and give a shout out to Jack Hughes. That kid is a stud and he was everywhere today. Former 2018 first rounder Ty Smith also had a good game with three chances and two hits. The future is bright for the New Jersry Devils.
Next up, the Capitals face off against the Penguins AGAIN on Tuesday at 7pm ET in DC.
Thanks for reading and GO CAPS
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