News, notes and quotes as the Caps enjoy a day off on Thursday ahead of Friday night’s home game against the Minnesota Wild:
Weber update: Unless his wife goes into labor, newly acquired defenseman Mike Weber is expected to join the Caps for their morning skate on Friday. Caps coach Barry Trotz said he has no definitive plans on when the hard-hitting, shot-blocking defenseman will get into the lineup.
“We always felt he played hard against us,” Trotz said. “He takes a piece of you all the time and we thought he’d be a real good fit for us.
“He goes into the eight (defensemen) and that’s a pretty good group of eight we have. There are no promises. We won’t know until we own it where he fits in or if he will play. We won’t know any of that until he gets here and becomes a part of the group. The guys that are here have done a really good job. I have no beefs with anybody that’s already here.”
Weber is one of three expectant fathers on the Caps’ roster, joining center Marcus Johansson and defenseman Taylor Chorney.
“I think it’s very important that they’re around for that,” said Trotz, a father of four, “so we’ll work things out.”
Magic number: Despite Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps maintain a 17-point lead over the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference standings. The Caps’ magic number for clinching a playoff berth is 17 points. Any combination of points gained by the Caps or lost by the ninth-place Devils would secure the Caps a playoff berth.
Tough to beat: The Caps have not suffered back-to-back regulation losses all season and are 11-1-1 following any losses this season.
44 and counting: The Capitals’ 44 wins are tied for the most victories through a team’s first 59 games of a season in NHL history (Detroit: 1995-96). Washington is also is the first team to earn 92 points through its first 59 games since Detroit in 1995-96 (92 points).The Caps are also one win away from equaling last year’s win total when they went 45-26-11. The Caps are 32-6-3 in their last 41 games.
Third period dominance: The Caps’ two goals in the third period Wednesday night (Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov) marking the 23rd time in the last 24 games they have scored a goal in the third period. The Caps lead the NHL in third-period goals (78) and have outscored opponents 78-48 in the third period this season.
300 and counting: The Caps and their fans have recorded 300 consecutive sellouts at Verizon Center dating back to March 5, 2009.
Grubi doo: Goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped 15 of 16 shots in relief of Braden Holtby. In his five relief appearances this season, Grubauer has posted a 0.85 goals-against average and a .965 save percentage. Conversely, Braden Holtby has allowed three or more goals in five of his last seven starts but has won five of those seven games.
Streakers: Alex Ovechkin earned an assist, extending his point streak to four games (4 goals, 3 assists). He has earned 22 points in his last 19 games (18 goals, 4 assists). Andre Burakovsky has 19 points in his last 18 games (9 goals, 10 assists). Nicklas Backstrom has earned 23 points in his last 23 games (7 goals, 16 assists). Jason Chimera’s 17th goal leaves him three shy of his career high.
Richards update: With Mike Richards’ legal issues behind him, Trotz said he expects his 31-year-old center to have no distractions the remainder of the season.
“For him it’s a big weight off his shoulders,” Trotz said. “I think it frees him mentally to concentrate on being the Mike Richards we’re starting to see on a regular basis and that’s pretty good to see. I think he’s going to be an important piece for us.”
After playing a season-high 15:58 Monday night against Arizona, Richards played 11:10 on Wednesday with Marcus Johansson back in the lineup and was robbed of his second goal of the season on a spectacular back-of-the-blocker save by Montreal goalie Mike Condon.