Capitals

Quick Links

Barry Trotz lays out his 2017-18 goal for Tom Wilson

Barry Trotz lays out his 2017-18 goal for Tom Wilson


Barry Trotz laid out his expectations for Tom Wilson very clearly on Sunday: he wants the big winger to hit double digits in goals this season.

“He has that physical element, he’s reliable, he can kill penalties, he can play in late-game situations, he’s developed all that,” Trotz said. “Now, we got to get offense side going.”

“We got to get more production out of Tom Wilson,” the Capitals coach continued.

“We’re going to need some more goals out of him. He’s got to get into that double digits this year. That’s real key.”

RELATED: HOW IMPORTANT IS TOM WILSON TO THE CAPITALS?

In his first four seasons with the Caps, Wilson’s goal production has gone 3, 4, 7 and 7.

Wilson spent the majority of last season on the fourth line before being elevated to the third line in the playoffs, where he scored three times in a span of four games against his hometown Maple Leafs, prompting renewed optimism about his offensive upside. 

This season, the former first round draft pick is expected to start somewhere among the Caps’ top-9 forwards.

In Trotz’s mind, it’s time for that optimism to become reality as the team looks to “chip away” at the loss of a couple of 24 goal scorers in Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson.

Trotz doesn’t need Wilson to match the production of Williams or Johansson. But he also doesn’t think that putting up half as many is out of the realm of possibility for the rugged 23-year-old, who is also entering a contract year. 

RELATED: WILL THIS BE TOM WILSON'S BREAKOUT SEASON?

“You look at a guy like [Alex] Chiasson, he had 12 even strength goals [for Calgary] last year,” Trotz said. “And a guy like Jay Beagle, he was able to get double digits. Now we got to get a guy like Tom Wilson into double digits.”

“That’s how you chip away at the loss of a couple of guys,” Trotz added. “Give us or five more goals than you had last year. Another four goals in an 82-game span that doesn’t seem like that much. I think it’s very attainable.”

Quick Links

4 reasons the Caps beat the Bruins

usatsi_10479325.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons the Caps beat the Bruins

The Capitals just can't seem to lose to the Boston Bruins. The Caps extended their win streak over the Bruins to 11 games on Thursday thanks to their 5-3 win in Boston.

Here's how the Caps extended the streak.

Braden Holtby, especially in the first and second period

Here is one where the box score won't tell the whole story. Braden Holtby gave up three goals on 37 shots. Looking at that, you may think to yourself that he was good, but not great. Let's be clear, Holtby was great in this game, especially early. The Bruins were buzzing in the first and second period—Washington was outshot 13-3 in the second—yet after 40 minutes Washington held a 2-1 lead. Holtby was brilliant allowing the Caps to take control of the game.

RELATED: CHECK OUT TARIK'S 3 STARS OF THE GAME

Finally solving Boston's penalty kill

The Bruins entered Thursday's game with the 3rd best penalty kill in the NHL. Washington failed to score on any of its first three power play opportunities in the first period so they changed things up. In the Caps' normal power play, there is some movement, but the setup is largely based on positioning. Players have spots they are supposed to be in and their movement is largely restricted to their specific areas. That changed in the second period. The players cycled frequently and managed to catch Boston's penalty killers off guard. Instead of playing the wall like he usually does, Backstrom was in front of the net for the easy tip-in off a pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Rookies

Jakub Vrana scored one of the prettiest goals you will see this season as he split the defense and turned what looked like a normal play into a breakaway. In the third period, the ice began tilting in Boston's favor, but Christian Djoos slammed the door shut. Djoos took a pass at the blue line and had room to skate. He drove in, deked around Anders Bjork and set up Alex Chiasson beautifully right on the tape for the goal to make it 3-1.

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE LATEST CAPITALS FACEOFF PODCAST

Alex Chiasson

Chiasson not only scored off of the great setup by Djoos, but he also was able to turn a blocked shot into a breakaway shorthanded goal. The Caps entered the third period up 2-1. Chiasson scored the next two to make it 4-1 and really iced the game away.

Quick Links

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps make it 11 straight against Boston

usatsi_10479024.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps make it 11 straight against Boston

The Caps simply don’t lose against the Bruins. Not with Barry Trotz as head coach, anyway.

On Thursday night, Nicklas Backstrom and Co. extended their dominance vs. the B’s to 11 straight victories thanks to a 5-3 decision at TD Garden. The winning streak dates back to 2014, Trotz’s first behind the Washington bench.

Overall, the Caps have now won nine of their last 11 games. Brad Marchand and the Bruins, meantime, lost for the first time in four games.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST CAPITALS FACEOFF PODCAST

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Chiasson, Capitals

The winger struck twice in the third period, including a shorty, to put the game on ice. Chiasson gave the Caps a 3-1 lead when he whacked in his own rebound following a setup slick pass from Christian Djoos.

No. 39 then sealed the victory on the penalty kill, blocking a shot and taking off on a breakaway. At the net, he flipped a backhander over Anton Khudobin for his first two-goal game of the season and second multi-point performance.

Chiasson now has six goals on the season, including five in the last 15 games.  

2- Jakub Vrana, Capitals

Late in a scoreless opening frame, No. 13 controlled the puck in the neutral zone, turned on the afterburners, split the Boston defense and sniped a shot over Khudobin to put the Caps up 1-0.

The goal was Vrana’s 10th of the year and 6thin the past 11 games. It also marked the fifth time Vrana this season scored Washington’s first goal of the game. (We won’t mention that he was in the penalty box for the Bruins’ goal).

MORE CAPITALS: THE CAPS HAVE COME A LONG WAY IN THE LAST MONTH

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

As I’ve said on many occasions, Holtby (34 saves) could be one of the Caps’ stars every night, especially after victories. Against the Bruins, though, he might have been the best player on the ice when the outcome was still in doubt. His best sequence came late in the opening period. First he made a point-blank stop on David Krejci and, moments later, he used a perfectly-timed poke check on Patrice Bergeron. Vrana put the Caps up 1-0 a short while later.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.