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WSH 6, COL 3 - Caps Outwork Avalanche to Finish Home Stand

October 20, 2021, 8:04 AM ET [1 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hello All,

The Washington Capitals capped off a three-game home stand to open the season with a very convincing 6-3 win over the Stanley Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche.

Here Are the Stats:

Shots on Goal:

WSH – 40
COL – 27


Shots on Goal (5v5):

WSH – 32
COL – 17


Corsi For %
WSH – 59.65%
COL – 40.35%

Corsi For % (5v5)
WSH – 64.63%
COL – 35.37%


Power Play:

WSH – 0/3
COL – 1/4


Hits:

WSH – 20
COL – 15


Blocks:

WSH – 11
COL - 14


Scoring Chances For:

WSH – 35
COL – 23



Scoring Chances For (5v5):

WSH – 28
COL – 14



High Danger Chances For:

WSH – 15
COL – 11



High Danger Chances For: (5v5):

WSH – 13
COL – 5


Goaltending:
Ilya Samsonov
SV% .889 (Saved 24 of 27 shots faced)

Darcy Kuemper
SV% .872 (Saved 34 of 39 shots faced)

My Takeaways from the Game:

1. Dominating Home Performance – If I were to tell you the “aging” Caps played the Stanley Cup favorite Colorado Avalanche and someone won 6-3, I bet most people at first glance would assume it was the Avalanche. This game however was heavily dominated by the Capitals. To be fair this was MacKinnon's first game back and they were also missing Landeskog. The Caps were +13 on shots, +15 shots 5v5, +12 scoring chances, +14 scoring chances 5v5, +4 high danger scoring chances, and +8 high danger scoring chances 5v5. In addition, their overall CF% was between 60-65% throughout the game. The Caps outmuscled and outworked the Avalanche pretty much all night and it wasn’t even really that close. Here is what Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said in reflection of the game “I thought we got outcompeted in a lot of areas, so we gave up way too much. We were, I would say cheating or gambling for offense instead of working the right way to create it, and they went the other way on us”.

2. Evgeny Kuznetsov Rewriting His Script The bird man was subject to a lot of trade rumors during the offeseason. Since the Caps epic 2018 Stanley Cup run where Kuzy led the team in points, Kuzy has been pretty up and down. There have been off the ice distractions, COVID, and questionable decision making/play on the ice. The Capitals did not trade Kuznetsov in the offseason. With that being said, Kuzy carries cap hit of $7.8M AAV. His issues have become a talking point since last year. Fortunately, Kuznetsov seems to be skating with a ton of confidence this season. He has six points in three games and looked great last night. He is skating well and putting the puck in high danger areas. The Avalanche were mostly cheating to Ovechkin's side of the ice all night and that left a little room for Kuznetsov to maneuver and create opportunities. According to natural stat trick, Kuznetsov had 6 individual chances for, 5 individual scoring chances, two high danger scoring chances, and one rebound attempt. He finished the night with 2G-1A-3P. Welcome back, Kuzy!

3. Ilya Samsonov Asserts Himself into Conversation – There has been a lot of talk about Vitek Vanecek being the clear-cut number starter for the Capitals and rightfully so. However, Ilya Samsonov probably has the higher ceiling between the two goalies. When he is on, boy is he on. Last night was not statistically the best night on paper (.889 SV%, 3GA), but he looked real solid once he settled in after the second goal allowed. While the Avalanche didn’t generate a ton of chances, they did get some good looks in the third to cut the lead down and Samsonov did what I beg every Capitals goalie to do...make the saves you are supposed to and rise to the occasion on a majority of medium/higher danger chances! The Capitals certainly have a good problem on their hands with Vanecek and Samsonov. The Capitals have played arguable the three best offenses in the league to the start the season (NYR, TBL, and COL) and only allowed 4 goals total. That is quite impressive. For a team usually known for lackluster defense and goaltending, the Capitals are at least off on the right foot.

Other Random Stats from the Game:

-Ovechkin scored an empty net goal. He now has 734 career goals. He is seven away from tying Brett Hull.
-Anthony Mantha scored his 100th career goal
-Everyone's favorite player, Tom Wilson, had three assists
-Nick Jensen scored a goal and an assist

Next up: The Capitals visit the NJD on Thursday 10/21/21. Jack Hughes may or may not be playing after sustaining an injury last night.
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