1. First Period Feeding Frenzy – The Capitals may have allowed the first goal of the game, but they did not let that deter them! During a span of 3:01 in the first period, the inevitable occurred and the Capitals went on a three-goal scoring frenzy. John Carlson, American Hero, scored a goal and had the primary assist on the two other goals. The Capitals held a 13-10 shot advantage in the first period. Scoring Chances were 7-3 in the Capitals favor in the first period.
2. Martin Jones – Jones entered last night’s game on a four-game heater and was also just named the NHL’s Third Star of the week. Fortunately for the Caps, Jones regressed to his early season form and allowed five goals on 23 shots. Two of the first four goals were rebounds that Jones could have easily swallowed up. He was replaced by Aaron Dell to start the third period. Jones is now 12-9-1 with a 3.16 GAA and an .892 SV%. I credit the Caps for putting the pressure on Jones and the Sharks Defense. I expect nothing less from the #1 offense in the league.
3. Fourth Line Dominance – All four lines played great but the fourth line (Leipsic-Dowd-Hathaway) really shined last night. They are gritty and present more of a defensive posture. They broke down almost every other Sharks entry and as a result, created opportunities and a few takeaways that led to goals. After going pointless in his first two games back from the spitting suspension, Garnet Hathaway scored two goals and both were assisted by his podcast bro, Nic Dowd. Check them out on “Between Two Blue Lines”. Is that a clever play on “Between Two Ferns”? I am not sure but if so, well done. In all seriousness, I really like the way Hathaway has gelled with the team so far. At 1.5mil/year, I’d say this is a bargain. We could be seeing a lot of Hathaway-Dowd point combos for the years to come as both players are locked in for at least three years.
Overall a great start to the Western road trip that has typically given the Capitals trouble over the years! The Capitals are starting to get healthy, minus Gudas injury last night (Evander Kane = Turd Alert). Hagelin returned to the lineup and Nicklas Backstrom has been cleared by doctors but no decision has been made when he could return. Possibly tonight but who knows.
-The Capitals post the third best record in the league (8-3-2) when their opponent scores first. The two teams ranked ahead of them are the Jets at (8-6-1) and the Islanders at (9-4-1).
-The Capitals still have the best road record in the league at 12-2-1. There are three teams in the West with 10 road wins (St. Louis, Winnipeg, and Edmonton).
-According to NHL Public Relations, John Carlson is the first defenseman to reach the 40-point mark in 29 games or fewer since Calgary’s Al MacInnis in 1990-91 (11-30 in 29 GP). #Johnnie4Norris
-In his first game for the Golden Knights, Chandler Stephenson scored the first goal of the game because of course he did. It is tough to see Stephenson go but I understand with the Salary Cap restrictions and upcoming contracts why the Capitals had to make the move. Stephenson was drafted by the Capitals #77 overall in the 2012 draft and has spent his entire career within the Capitals organization. He scored timely goals during the epic Stanley Cup run. He will be a great addition to the Golden Knights. Cheers Chandler!
Thanks for Reading!