Nicklas Backstrom's 500th career assist set up what would be the only goal of the night in a 1-0 Capitals win over the Ottawa Senators.
How it happened: The Caps struck less than two minutes into the game as Backstrom set up T.J. Oshie with a backhand pass on the rush that he fired into the top corner of the net. Braden Holtby did the rest as he turned aside all 30 shots he faced for his second straight shutout.
What it means: Saturday’s victory extends Washington’s win streak to five games and improves the team’s record to 12-2-2 in its last 16. The Caps are 2-0-0 against Ottawa this season and 7-0-1 against the Senators in their last eight meetings.
Turning point: Clinging to a narrow 1-0 lead late in the third period, Karl Alzner took a boarding penalty after cross-checking Mark Stone head first into the boards. The penalty killers coolly killed off the minor penalty, shutting the door on Ottawa's hopes for a late comeback.
500 for Backstrom: Backstrom’s first period assist was a big one as it was assist No. 500 of his career. He is now the first player in Capitals franchise history to reach the 500 assist plateau. You can read more about the milestone here.
Scare for Oshie: Oshie took a hard shoulder-to-should hit from Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf in the second period that clearly stung. You can see the hit here. Oshie slowly made his way off the ice and was doubled over on the bench before going down the tunnel to the locker room. He returned later in the period and left for the locker room again before the end of the second. Oshie missed seven games with a shoulder injury he suffered against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 18. The Caps went 3-3-1 during that stretch. Phaneuf's hit struck Oshie on the same shoulder he had previously injured.
Unbeatable: The Capitals' penalty kill has been putting the "special" in special teams lately and that continued Saturday as they killed all three man advantages they faced on Saturday. Washington has now killed off 52 of the last 55 power plays they have faced over the last 13 games.
Nothing to worry about: Holtby had a rare off night on Tuesday as he was pulled against the Toronto Maple Leafs after giving up three goals on eight shots. In his two starts since, the Caps netminder has shutouts in both contests with 29 saves against the Columbus Blue Jackets and 30 against the Senators. Hotlby is now tied for the league lead in shutouts with five on the season.
Look ahead: Washington remains north of the border for a game in Montreal on Monday. They then return home for a murderous three-game home stretch starting Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers.