By the time they are back in their beds sometime early Tuesday morning, the Caps will be holding a share of the NHL lead in points. Here is our post-game analysis of the Caps’ 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night in Raleigh:
How it happened: Caps goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 31 of 32 shots and withstood a last-minute flurry by the Hurricanes to leads the Caps to their sixth straight victory. Michael Latta and Jason Chimera provided the only offense the Caps needed as they improved to 13-0-1 when receiving a goal from the third or fourth line.
What it means: The Caps are now 13-1-1 in their last 15 games and share the top spot in the NHL with a 25-6-2 record and 52 points. The Dallas Stars (25-7-2) also have 52 points but have played one more game.
Grubi Dooby Doo: Trotz rewarded Grubauer’s strong effort against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night by giving him the start in Raleigh and the rookie netminder was outstanding, especially in the final 1:31 of regulation when the Caps killed off a too-many-men penalty. Grubauer made back-to-back stops on Elias Lindholm and Jeff Sinner .to preserve the one-goal lead.
Chimmer me timbers: Jason Chimera’s second-period goal, which came off a strong faceoff win by Jay Beale, was his second in as many games and ninth of the season. That’s one more goal than Chimera scored in 77 games last season. Chimera’s 18 points are also one more than he recorded last season.
Latta offense: Michael Latta Latta gave the Caps an early 1-0 lead 15:52 into the opening period when he dropped a pass for Andre Burakovsky and followed up Burakovsky’s rebound for his third goal of the season. That’s three more goals than Latta scored last season.
Etc: Defenseman Matt Niskanen blocked a team-high eight shots, while defense partner Karl Alzner blocked five. The Caps finished with 27 blocked shots. Jay Beagle picked up one assist and won 14 of 18 faceoffs in 15:27 of ice time to earn the first star of the game. T.J. Oshie, who tweaked a lower body injury on Sunday night in New York, saw 18:06 of ice time.
Merry Christmas: Caps coach Barry Trotz emphasized the need for the Caps to finish out their pre-Christmas schedule with a strong push and they did just that, following back-to-back comeback victories with a wire-to-wire win.
Statistically speaking: The Caps are 10-3-0 in their last 13 games in Carolina and have won six of their last seven. Since the start of the 2010-11 season the Caps are 19-6-3 against the Canes and are 7-1-1 in their last nine meetings.
What’s next: The Caps are off until Saturday night when the Montreal Canadiens visit Verizon Center.
MORE CAPITALS: Holtby praises Wilson for coming to his defense Sunday