News, notes and quotes from the Caps’ 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night:
On a roll: The Caps have won 14 of their last 16 games (14-1-1) and are the only team in the NHL to have gone the entire season without back-to-back losses in regulation. They have a 16-point cushion on the second-place New York Islanders in the Metro Division.
“We didn’t know we won 14 of 16,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “I don’t think we look at (our record) and say we’re doing great and pat ourselves on the back. The most important thing right now is the Buffalo Sabres, and I like that trait.”
Did he say, ‘Cup?’: After Thursday night’s win Caps defenseman Karl Alzner complimented general manager Brian MacLellan for bringing in players like Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie and Taylor Chorney in the offseason.
“We’ve come a long ways,” Alzner said. “It’s so hard for the guys up top to make the right choices and bring the right people in and they’ve made great choices. I’m hoping they’ve found the right pieces to win the Cup. I’m hoping we have a good enough team. We’re playing pretty good hockey right now.”
And from the other side: Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said he was impressed with the overall play of the Capitals, saying they’re a team that allows very little defensively. The Caps have allowed the fewest goals against and have the greatest goal differential (plus-52) in the NHL.
“They are a good team,” Desjardins said. “They’re deep all the way through. They’re a tough team. They’re a good team to gauge yourself against. Good teams wear you down where you make mistakes and they did that. They put pressure on you until you make a mistake.”
Angry Canucks: The Canucks were very unhappy with the play that led to Alzner’s second-period goal. Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen dumped forward Sven Baertschi along the offensive right wing boards and was immediately confronted by Bo Horvat.
“I’m not sure who it was who came in and just punched him and kind of slew-footed him,” Horvat said of Niskanen’s hit on Baertschi. “I think it should’ve been a call, but that’s just the way it goes. … Everybody stopped because they thought it was gonna be a penalty.”
Everybody but Andre Burakovsky, who fired a pass to Alzner for Alzner’s third goal of the season.
“I was distracted, too,” Alzner admitted. “I didn’t know the play was happening. I had way more time because I think people were more focused on that and expected a whistle or something.”
By the numbers: Marcus Johansson won 8 of 11 faceoffs (72.7 percent), his best night on draws since taking over for Jay Beagle on New Year's eve. ... The Capitals improved to 25-1-0 when scoring first and 24-0-1 when leading after two periods. They have won 11 consecutive games at Verizon Center, tying the longest home winning streak in the NHL this season (Calgary: 11). It's the longest home win streak since since they won a franchise-record 13 consecutive games during the 2009-10 season.The Caps have outscored opponents 45-19 in their last 11 home games and are 17-3-1 at home this season.