News, notes and quotes as the Capitals awake in Vancouver today following Tuesday night’s impressive 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome:
Ode to Ovi: By deftly tucking his own rebound behind Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, Alex Ovechkin became the second-fastest active player to record his 900th point. Ovechkin has done it in 764 games. Florida Panthers 43-year-old right wing Jaromir Jagr did it in 681. “It’s pretty special,” Trotz said. “He’s one of those rare players you get to work with and you get to see on a nightly basis. It’s pretty special. To get to 900 point in this league you’ve got to be pretty darn good and he’s got a lot of points left in him. To see what he ends up with in final totals when his career is done is going to be pretty astounding, I think.”
Kuz-tastic: With each passing game, Evgeny Kuznetsov is blossoming into an NHL star with unparalleled vision. One game after finding T.J. Oshie in front of the net with a reverse pass against the Carolina Hurricanes, Kuznetsov pulled a similar move Tuesday night to set up Andre Burakovsky’s game-tying goal with 3:58 remaining in the first period. “Kuzy’s come a long way from the start of last year,” Trotz said. “Tonight he was really skating.”
Bura-cuda: On Sunday, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he would try to find extra ice time for fourth-line right wing Andre Burakovsky and on Tueasday night he did just that. After back-to-back penalty kills that saw T.J. Oshie log 1:29 of shorthanded ice time, Trotz gave Oshie a rest on the bench and replaced him with Burakovsky. On his first shift with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov, neither of whom kill penalties, Burakovsky lingered in front of the net long enough to snap Kuznetsov’s backhand pass through Ramo. Burakovsky finished with 14:19 of ice time, including 2:34 on the power play. It’s a good way to get a good talented man in the fold.
Killing it: The Caps were a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill Tuesday night and are now 13 for 15 on the season, tied with Dallas and Vancouver for seventh in the NHL at 86.7 percent. Defensively, Brooks Orpik (2:47), John Carlson (2:27) ,Matt Niskanen (2:25) and Karl Alzner (2:22) are averaging the most PK time, while Brooks Laich (2:09), Jay Beagle (1:53), Oshie (1:38), Justin Williams (1:30), Nicklas Backstrom (1:26), Jason Chimera (1:22) and Tom Wilson (1:01) are pulling the load. Wilson, who is seeing regular PK time for the first time in his NHL career, had a nice block on the penalty kill while the Caps were killing off back-to-back penalties in the first period. “I think we got some momentum off of that,” Caps coach Barry Trotz. “We played quicker after that.”
Willy and Backy: In just two games together Williams and Backstrom are finding some good chemistry alongside left wing Marcus Johansson. Williams has set up two of Backstrom’s three goals this season with primary assists. Williams is still seeking his first goal as a Capital but has four assists in five games.
Chorlov: Taylor Chorney (holding) and Dmitry Orlov (high sticking) each took minor penalties in the first period when the Caps were trailing the Flames 1-0. But both defensemen recovered nicely, with Orlov finishing a plus-3 and Chorney a plus-2.
What’s next: The Caps have a practice scheduled for today in Vancouver and rumor has it a rookie dinner may follow this evening. The Caps’ only rookies this season are Chandler Stephenson, Stan Galiev and Philipp Grubauer, so newcomers Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie and Taylor Chorney may have to chip in to cover the tab. The Caps will look to improve on their 4-1-0 record Thursday night against the Canucks when Trotz could try to work Michael Latta and/or Nate Schmidt into the lineup.
MORE CAPITALS: Ovi reaches yet another milestone with 900th point