Caps escape contest with Lightning with an important W
Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals enjoy a Sunday off following Saturday night’s stressful 6-5 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning:
Streaking: The Capitals have won a season-high seven games in a row, the most consecutive wins since a seven-game streak at the beginning of last season under Bruce Boudreau.
Magic number: With a four-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets and six games remaining, the Caps can clinch the Southeast Division with any combination of nine points gained by them or lost by the Jets. That magic number decreases by two with every win by the Caps or loss by the Jets. The two teams play again Tuesday night when the Caps host the Maple Leafs and the Jets host the Lightning.
Cruise control: The Caps are 11-1-1 since losing 2-1 to the Penguins in Pittsburgh on March 19, a game Adam Oates says was the best of the season for his team. They are 13-3-1 in their last 17 games and 21-9-1 since beginning the season 2-8-1.
Easy being Green: Mike Green’s overtime goal Saturday night was the 15th game-winning goal of his career and his sixth in overtime. He ranks tied for third among active NHL defensemen in overtime goals and is second among NHL defensemen in goals this season with 10, one behind Montreal’s P.K. Subban.
Ovi still hot: With a goal and an assist against the Lightning, Alex Ovechkin now leads the NHL with 27 goals and is fifth in scoring with 46 points, one behind Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz, six behind Tampa’s Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis and 10 behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. Ovechkin now has 18 goals and 8 assists in his last 17 games.
Ribby’s milestone: Mike Ribeiro picked up his 600th and 601st points of his NHL career with a pair of assists Saturday night. He is the 40th active player to have recorded 600 career points.
Happy Daddy: Defenseman Jack Hillen has two goals and three assists since becoming a father for the second time last weekend. He’s expected to spend the next two days in Minnetonka, Minn., visiting with his wife, Caitlin, and their week-old son, Knox Patrick. Hillen has not held his newborn since he was born last weekend.
Nifty Nicky: Caps center Nicklas Backstrom picked up another assist Saturday night and now has one goal and 14 assists in his last nine contests.
Volpatti hurting: Aaron Volpatti blocked a shot by Radko Gudas late in the third period and was helped down the tunnel but told reporters he was OK after the game.
Real time stats: Ovechkin paced the Caps with nine shots on goal and now leads the NHL with 193. Defenseman John Erskine led the team with eight hits; John Carlson blocked a team-high five shots; and Ribeiro won a team-high 11 face-offs.