The Caps didn't look all that good to start, but they overcame their early struggles for a dominating 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
How it happened: Washington was outshot 13-5 through the first period, but still managed to take a 1-0 lead in the second thanks to Andre Burakovsky. Michale Del Zotto whiffed on a clear attempt on the penalty kill and Burakovsky pounced on the turnover and fired the wrister past Steve Mason. The Caps then exploded in the third period for four goals as the Flyers completely collapsed in the wake of Washington's offense.
What it means: The Caps remain hot with their ninth win in a row. The victory was No. 1,500 for the franchise. With 63 points, Washington now sits atop the NHL standings. The victory also improves their record within the division to 8-5-4.
Honoring Backstrom: The Capitals held a ceremony prior to the game to honor Nicklas Backstrom for his 500th NHL assist which he recorded on Jan. 7 in Ottawa. He is the first player in franchise history to reach that mark. After a tribute video that included messages from several teammates including Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom was presented a golden stick from Ted Leonsis.
Offensive explosion: With five goals Sunday, Washington has now scored five or more goals an incredible six times in the past nine games.
Too many penalties: The Caps took five minor penalties on Sunday against one of the most dangerous power plays in the NHL. It didn't cost them on Sunday, but taking too many penalties remains one of the few issues surrounding this team right now.
No Holtby? No problem: The Flyers may have thought they lucked out with Philipp Grubauer in net instead of the red-hot Braden Holtby, but Grubauer was fantastic in net turning aside 24 shots to earn his second shutout of the season and the second of his career.
Carlson leaves early: Defenseman John Carlson left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury. He did not return. It was not immediately clear how he got hurt, or if it was related to the lower-body injury that forced him to miss Thursday's practice. Carlson missed Thursday's practice as well.
Grubauer lucks out: Things just seem to be going the Caps' way right now. That was evident in the second period when the Flyers were denied what looked like a good goal from Radko Gudas. The Philly defenseman hit a blistering slap shot from center ice that somehow beat Grubauer for what looked like an embarrassing game-tying goal. Philadelphia was denied the goal, however, because the whistle blew a fraction of a second before the puck went in. The call appeared to be offsides. Because the whistle blew before the goal was scored, it could not be challenged. No doubt Grubauer breathed a sigh of relief after that one. That would have been a major stain on what otherwise was a great day for him in net.
Look ahead: The Caps hit the road for a three-game road trip starting with a game in Pittsburgh on Monday. Then it’s off to St. Louis on Thursday before the trip wraps up on Saturday in Dallas.