Capitals

Quick Links

Capitals ground Jets, match season-high win streak with seventh straight win

Capitals ground Jets, match season-high win streak with seventh straight win

WASHINGTON – Just one game after scoring eight goals, the Winnipeg Jets were held to only one by Pheonix Copley and the Caps on Sunday in a 3-1 win for Washington. The victory makes that seven straight for the Caps, tying a season high.

Here are four reasons Washington won.

Jets lose track of Backstrom

Early in the first period John Carlson went deep in the offensive zone looking to join the play. Nicklas Backtrom came back to the blue line to cover him. The puck came out to him and he passed it left to Michal Kempny. Kempny sent it cross-rink to Carlson, who was moving back into his position at the blue line. Among all the shuffling, the Jets completely lost track of Backstrom who moved up to the high slot. When Carlson returned the puck to him, he was left completely wide open. Backstrom took advantage of the space and the screen being delivered by T.J. Oshie and an ailing Tyler Myers, who had just taken an inadvertent kick to the ribs, and fired the puck past goalie Connor Hellebuyck to give Washington the 1-0 lead.

The penalty kill

The Caps’ penalty kill was again put to the test on Sunday as Washington had to kill off five power-play opportunities for Winnipeg. The penalty kill was called upon early and often on Friday against the New Jersey Devils. The answer in that game was Carl Hagelin, who had over eight minutes of penalty-kill time alone. Washington could not lean so heavily on Hagelin in this game, however, as he took two of the penalties against the Caps. Still, the penalty kill stood strong again killing off all four of the penalties faced.

The key kill came in the first period with the game tied at one. Brett Connolly was called for tripping and 26 seconds later, the Caps were caught with five skaters on the ice. The referees caught Washington for too many men giving Winnipeg a two-man advantage for 1:34. The Caps allowed three shots on goal, but did not allow the Jets to hit the back of the net. They also managed to kill off a late third period penalty for Dmitry Orlov as the team held a one-goal lead.

Washington's penalty kill has now killed off 19 of 21 penalties since acquiring Hagelin and Nick Jensen and has also killed off 16 straight.

An alley-oop to Hagelin

Hagelin’s best attribute is his speed which means when he comes out of the penalty box the Caps will have a chance for a quick strike if they can get him the puck. Nic Dowd did just that in the second period.

As goalie Connor Hellebuyck smacked the ice with his stick signaling the end of the penalty, Dowd intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and immediately flipped the puck up and over the Jets and down the ice. The puck made its way to Hagelin who was behind the defense and in on a breakaway. He beat Hellebuyck five-hole to break the tie and give Washington the 2-1 lead.

An unsuccessful challenge from Winnipeg

The Jets thought they had the game-tying goal midway through the third period as the puck crossed the line after a scrum in front of the net. The play was ruled no goal for goalie interference, but Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice challenged the play. After a review, it was upheld as no goal.

Replay showed the puck clearly crossed the line just before Copley could kick it out with the pad, but that was not the issue; the issue was that in going after the loose puck, Bryan Little clearly pushed Copley’s pad with his stick, which led to the disallowed goal.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

The Capitals had an off day on Sunday ahead of their Monday matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving the opportunity for Alex Ovechkin to spend some time with his son.

Sergei and his dad came across a baby hockey stick and Ovechkin decided to teach his son a few moves.

The 2035 NHL mock drafts have yet to be released, but we have an early pick for No. 1…

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

nicklasbackstrom_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

ARLINGTON, Va -- The Capitals are riding a six-game win streak and already have the most points in the NHL and now they will be adding one of their best players back into the lineup. Nicklas Backstrom said Sunday after practice that he is "ready to go" for Monday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It will be his first game since Nov. 18.

An upper-body injury forced Backstrom out of the lineup for the last eight games. Despite returning to practice during the team's road trip through California, he did not get into a game as the team preached caution with its star center. As the team returned home, Backstrom took line rushes on Sunday and both he and head coach Todd Reirden confirmed he would be back in for Monday's game.

"It was good to see him out there in full practice," Reirden said. "Did some drills specifically to help prepare him for tomorrow. He's good to go for tomorrow."

Backstrom said he knew when he woke up on Sunday that he was ready.

"As of today I'm good to go," he said. "I woke up and felt good. It's like that guy in 'Mighty Ducks,' I woke up, no pain."

It does not appear as if Backstrom will be eased back into the lineup as he skated on the top line in practice alongside Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. Evgeny Kuznetsov had been playing in that spot, but the top line had grown stagnant. Ovechkin, Wilson and Kuznetsov combined for only one even-strength point in the past three games.

Barring something unexpected, the return of Backstrom should give the Caps their full lineup for the first time all season. Considering what the team has been able to accomplish thus far while having to shuffle the lineup because of injuries and suspensions, this has been an impressive start.

"I think that shows the depth that we have all the way through our lineup: forward, defenseman and our goaltending has been strong," Reirden said. "I think it's a clear understanding that it's a competitive situation that we've had since training camp that players are ready to take advantage of their opportunities that they get and they know that they need to otherwise there's a chance they could find themselves on the outside. The inner-competition we've had has probably helped push that a little bit. That's been a good problem to have, and it's allowed us to see some other players get opportunities and showcase some of the abilities they have."

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: