News, notes and lots of numbers on the Capitals as they enjoy a day off the ice before departing for Columbus, where they’ll face the Blue Jackets Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena (6:30, CSN):
Quietly effective: Through 36 games Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney has five assists and ranks tied for third on the team with a plus-14 rating while averaging 13:17 of ice time.
“He’s one of those real good signings for us this year,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s under the radar. (His free-agent signing) was a footnote for a lot of people in this area.
“He’s come in and filled a really good role, can play both sides on the back end and he’s been solid. Todd (Reirden) has done a good job with all our defensemen and I’m real happy with Taylor. There are certain guys everybody sort of cheers for and he’s one of them.”
View from the top: The Caps’ 34-8-3 record is their best-ever after 45 games. It’s also the second-best start in NHL history, trailing only the 1929-30 Boston Bruins, who won 38 of their first 45 games. The Caps have earned at least a point in 24 of their last 27 games (22-3-2) and have outscored opponents 94-55 during that span.
Welcome, now get out!: The Caps have not lost at home since Nov. 19 when the Dallas Stars beat them 3-2. Since then they’ve won 12 straight at Verizon Center, their longest home winning streak since winning a franchise-record 13 straight during their Presidents’ Trophy season of 2009-10. The Caps have outscored opponents 50-21 in those 12 home games and are 14 for 38 (36.8 percent) on the power play during that span.
Power-ful: Speaking of the Caps’ power play, which struck twice against the Rangers on Sunday, the Caps are 21-0-2 in games they score on the man advantage. The Caps are also 25-0-1 this season when leading after the second period.
Second hatty: Justin Williams’ hat trick on Sunday was the second of his career. His only other came on Oct. 16, 2006 against the Tampa Bay Lightning when he netted three goals and one assist. It also marked the second hat trick for the Capitals this season. Evgeny Kuznetsov notched his first with a three-goal, two assist night in Edmonton on Oct. 23.
Feeling Grubi: Caps backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief of Braden Holtby (dehydration) Sunday night, improving his record to 3-1-0 record in his last six appearances. He has a 1.36 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage in those six games.
Streaking: Alex Ovechkin scored his 27th goal of the season and his 10th power-play goal on Sunday. He has scored six goals in his last six games. Nicklas Backstrom picked up an assist on a perfectly timed pass to Marcus Johansson and has earned 10 points in his last nine games . Dmitry Orlov also earned an assist and has three points in his last four games. Johansson has scored a goal in two straight games and has eight points in his last eight games. Kuznetsov recorded three assists, marking his second three-assist game of the season and the third of his career. Kuznetsov has seven points in his last four games and leads the Caps with 44 points in 45 games. Andre Burakovsky earned two assists, marking his third multi-assist game in his last four games.
MORE CAPITALS: Grubauer proving to be important piece of Caps' success