Once a week this season, we're taking a closer look at the numbers and pointing out a few trends that every Capitals fan should know about.
-- After Friday’s 4-0 blanking of the Bolts, Holtby now has three shutouts this season, including two in his last five starts. Only Devan Dubnyk (5), Tuukka Rask (4) and Peter Budaj (4) have more. Since the 2012-13 season, Holtby has 23 shutouts, which is tied with Rask for the most shutouts during that timeframe. (Carey Price is second with 22.) In his last eight starts, Holtby is 5-1-2 with a .949 save percentage and 1.47 goals against average.
-- Orlov made the highlights Friday night for his aerial set-up pass to Alex Ovechkin against the Lightning. But he’s actually been setting up goals with regularity for a while now. In fact, the 25-year-old defenseman has seven assists in the last nine games, putting him on pace for a career-best 33 helpers. Seems the defensive pair tweaks are working out for everyone involved, huh?
-- With a pair of assists against Tampa, Backstrom now needs just three to become the 10th Swede to record 500 assists for his career. The 10th year veteran has eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last eight games and 18 points in the last 20. Backstrom leads the Caps with 29 points; Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson are second with 24.
-- The Caps have faced five shorthanded situations the past two games…and did not yield a shot on goal on any of them. Over the past six games, the penalty kill has allowed just one goal. As a result, the unit is up to sixth in the NHL at 84.8-percent after scuffling near the bottom of the league for a time earlier this season.
The Caps’ upcoming schedule
-- The players and coaches had better enjoy this three-day break (and manage to get some rest, too). Because it’s going to be crazy on the other side of it. The Caps return to action Tuesday in Brooklyn…and then it’s a full out sprint for three weeks, with a game scheduled every other day for 21 straight days.
Evgeny Kuznetsov’s faceoffs
-- Kuznetsov has never been particularly strong on faceoffs. In recent games, though, he’s struggled more than usual. In fact, he’s won fewer than 40-percent of his draws in six straight games, including just 27.3-percent (3 of 11) vs. the Lightning. That marked his third-lowest percentage of the season. Overall, he’s fourth among the Caps’ full-time centers at 41.4-percent.
The Caps' record in shootouts
--After Wednesday's 3-2 loss in Philly, the Caps fell to 1-3 in games decided by shootout this season. Considering how tight the playoff race figures to remain down the stretch, every point matters. As a result, the Caps have dedicated a little more time in practice to shootout drills. Will it pay off? (I'll have a little more on this next week.)