Once a week this season, we've examined the numbers and pointed out a few trends that every Capitals fan should know about. Here’s our latest look:
The Caps’ captain has six goals and five assists in the last nine games. As I detailed here, the most noticeable difference has been the drastic uptick in the number of shots he’s taken since the team’s four-game losing streak earlier this month. Again, if you were worried about Ovi’s ability to turn it on, don’t be. No. 8 has transitioned into playoff mode.
The adjustment period seems to be nearing its end with the Caps’ newest player. Not only is he looking much more comfortable in his own end, he’s now in sync on the power play and chipping in offensively at even strength, too. In 13 games as a Capital, he’s racked up 11 points—all assists. In just the past three games, Shattenkirk has five helpers—three at even strength and two on the power play.
Already enjoying a career year, Mojo has taken things to another level lately, having accumulated a goal and seven assists in the last four games. In fact, over the last 15 games the 26-year-old winger is second on the Caps in points with 14 (4 goals and 10 assists). Fellow Swede Nicklas Backstrom is the only player with more (19 points) during that span.
During the Caps’ current six game winning streak, the power play has converted nine of 19 opportunities (47.4-percent). Ovechkin owns five of those power play tallies, while John Carlson, Johansson, Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov have the others. Since Jan. 1, the Caps have more power play goals (35) than any other team and have a 35-5-2 record this season when getting at least one.
Blue Jackets and Penguins
In the race for the Metro Division crown, Washington is making its move while Columbus and Pittsburgh have begun to scuffle a bit. The Caps have won six in a row and earned points in eight straight (7-0-1). The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, are 2-1-2 in their last five games, while the Penguins are 0-2-2 in their last four. This weekend figures to be a pivotal one in the Metro/Presidents' Trophy race. The Caps own a 110-106 lead over the Jackets, while the Pens lag behind with 103 points. Washington is playing at 29th place Arizona on Friday night, while Columbus plays at Western Conference-leading Chicago…after some plane problems leaving Raleigh late Thursday night. Washington then plays at Columbus on Sunday.
The third line center scored an empty net goal to clinch the Caps’ 5-3 win in Colorado on Wednesday. It was Eller’s first point in the month of March and first goal since Feb. 7, a span of 22 games. Will it spark something? The Caps had better hope so. Eller’s line needs to get going again.
Brett Connolly’s ice time
Connolly has been the Caps’ feel good story this season. Lately, though, the 24-year-old has seen a dip in ice time. In fact, over the last 13 games, Connolly has seen fewer than 10 minutes nine times. That only happened three times in the previous 32 contests. A quick glance at the numbers reveal a couple interesting things: No. 1, Connolly also has more goals (15) in less ice time on average (10:43) than anyone in the league this season and No. 2, he’s been assessed more minor penalties per 60 minutes than any player on the Caps (1.80).
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