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Washington Capitals Get Back On Winning Path
- Updated: March 15, 2017
Heading into Tuesday night’s game, the Washington Capitals were searching for answers to their recent losing streak. They went out to the west coast and dropped three straight contests. When the Minnesota Wild came to town, Washington got back to business as usual with a 4-2 win at Verizon Center.
Alex Ovechkin Breaks His Goal Drought
Before his goal against the Wild, Ovechkin couldn’t buy a goal. He had been held goalless in his last ten games, a career-long drought. No matter what he did, he just couldn’t find the back of the net. The case seemed to be the same early in this game until the second period. Just as a Capitals power play ended, Ovechkin took a pass from John Carlson and whipped it past Wild netminder, Devan Dubnyk. After he scored, Ovechkin seemed to have a newfound confidence and more pep in his step. With the monkey off his back, Ovechkin can get back to doing what he does best: scoring goals.
Braden Holtby Superb Between the Pipes
After lackluster performances in his last three starts, Braden Holtby stood on his head against Minnesota. He stopped 30 of 32 shots for his 35th win of the season. Holtby was especially impressive when it came to making stops around the net mouth and in traffic. It took a nice deke by Matt Dumba and a tap-in from Eric Staal to solve the Holtbeast but otherwise, he was stellar. Tuesday’s win also helped boost Holtby’s place in the league leaders in several categories. He is now first in goals-against-average (2.03), third in wins (35), and fourth in save percentage (.926). A great turnaround victory for a top Vezina Trophy candidate.
Nicklas Backstrom Racks Up a Big Night
Nicklas Backstrom has always been an underrated player in the NHL, not wanting to bask in the spotlight. Against Minnesota, he shined with a three-assist game, making it his fourth straight season of notching 50 assists. It’s hard to choose one play as his best of the night but it would have to be his assist on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s power-play goal. Backstrom carried the puck into Minnesota’s zone and slid a sneaky pass through defenseman Marco Scandella to the tape of Kuznetsov, who went top shelf for his 16th goal of the year. Another outstanding season for Backstrom which might earn him some league recognition come awards time.
Power Play Struggles Continue, Time to Worry?
Part of what made the Capitals such a dominant force in the NHL was their power play. Anytime they came out for a man advantage, teams would struggle trying to decide who to cover other than Ovechkin. This has not been the case in recent games. Over their last five games, Washington has scored 3 power play goals…on 22 opportunities. That’s pathetic for a team this talented. Overpassing, poor shot selection, and little zone time are several reasons why the Capitals have struggled on the power play. With 13 games remaining until playoffs, Washington HAS to figure this situation out. More shots from the point and more net-front traffic are some key suggestions.
What’s Next: The Capitals will remain at home Thursday night when the Nashville Predators come to town. The Predators beat down Washington 5-2 in their previous meeting on February 25.