Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals enjoy an unexpected day off following their 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Verizon Center:
Holt-beast: Braden Holtby stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn his second win of the season. He had to be at his best in the first two periods when the Blackhawks rebounded from a slow start (outshot 5-0) by firing 20 of the game’s next 30 shots.
“It’s the same thing every night from him,” Marcus Johansson said. “You can’t ask for a better goalie.”
Closing in on 900: Alex Ovechkin’s third-period goal was his second of the season and 477th of his career, leaving him two points short of 900 and 23 goals shy of 500. Of course, if you count playoff scoring, he’s already got 513 goals and 968 points as a Capital.
Speaking of Ovi: Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen joked before the game, “Why couldn’t Ovi oversleep today? He’s going to be flying tonight.” With that in mind, here are three songs we would have liked to here last night:
“I’m Wide Awake” – Katy Perry
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham
Wake Up (Ovi ), I Think I’ve Got Something To Say To You” – Rod Stewart
I-Carly: Don’t look now but Caps defenseman John Carlson is tied for third among NHL defensemen with four points in his first three games. He’s trailing only Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (7 points in 5 games) and Colorado’s Francois Beauchemin (5 in 3). Carlson’s two-point night against the Hawks marked his 34th career multi-point game. He also led all skaters in ice time (25:01).
Master of champions: The Capitals have won five straight home games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, including the Hawks’ last visit to D.C. on Jan. 1 at Nats Park.
Staying invisible: Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney played a quietly effective game in his Caps debut alongside Dmitry Orlov. In 12:41 of ice time, all at even strength, Chorney was even on the polus-minus ledger, blocked two shots and recorded two hits and one takeaway.
“I thought he was real steady,” Trotz said. “That’s what you want in that pair. He made all the right plays. There’s wasn’t any time I said under my breath, ‘What are you doing?’ And that’s a good sign for that pair.”
Nisky business: Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the season Thursday night and now has three points in his first three games. Last season Niskanen didn’t score his second goal until Dec. 9 in his 27th game of the season.
In fact, Niskanen already is halfway to his goal total of last season (4). His offensive numbers should continue to climb with his increased offensive role following the departure of Mike Green, who has one assist in his first three games with the Red Wings.
What's next: The Caps have a 10:15 morning skate on Saturday at Kettler, then face off against the 0-3-0 Carolina Hurricanes, who are in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings.
MORE CAPITALS: Friday Six-Pack: First Q&A of the Capitals 2015-16 season!