Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 1-0 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils Friday night at the Prudential Center in Newark:
How it happened: Playing in his first game since Feb. 24, Capitals defenseman John Carlson won the game 2:17 into overtime when he stepped into a pass from Jason Chimera and blasted a shot past Scott Wedgewood and inside the far left post for his first goal since Dec. 16. Braden Holtby stopped all 22 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season and 23rd of his career.
What it means: The Caps (53-15-5, 111 points) moved within one point of clinching their second Presidents’ Trophy. No one in the NHL can record more points and a loss by the Dallas Stars on Saturday afternoon or a win by the Caps over the Blues would clinch the top seed for the Capitals.
Chasing Marty: Holtby’s win improved his season record to 45-9-4 and moved him within three victories of matching Marty Brodeur’s NHL record of 48 wins back in 2007-08. Holtby did not see a lot of activity on Friday and with a short flight from Newark to D.C. it will be interesting to see if he starts Saturday night at home against the Blues.
Carlson’s debut: Aside from scoring the game-winner, John Carlson played a very solid game, logging 19:27 in ice time in his first game after a 13-game absence due to a lower body injury. Carlson won some key battles along the wall, cranked four shots on goal and had a scoring chance early in the third period on a rush up the ice.
Best on the road: The win was the Caps’ 25th road victory of the season, moving them past the 2009-10 Caps, who won 24 road games. The Caps are now 25-9-3 on the road this season.
Look ahead: The Caps are right back in action Saturday night when Troy Brouwer and the St. Louis Blues visit Verizon Center. The Blues faced the Vancouver Canucks in St. Louis on Friday night. If T.J. Oshie (flu) returns to the Caps’ lineup against his former team it will mark the first time since November that the Caps have a completely healthy lineup.