Sittin' at the End of the (Capitals) Bar

Bruce Bennett

Where Peerless takes a look at that pesky phenomenon of goals scored by opponents less than two minutes after a Caps goal, and vice versa.

It's a little known fact...

-- Twenty-one times this season the Washington Capitals gave up a goal within two minutes of scoring one themselves, 20 times within a period and once when they scored late in one period and allowed a goal early in the next.

-- Five times in those 21 instances they allowed a goal after scoring a power play goal, four times after an Alex Ovechkin goal, once after a goal by John Carlson.

-- Twice those goals scored by opponents were shorthanded, both times against the New York Rangers. The first time occurred on December 27th when Carl Hagelin scored just 17 seconds into the third period after Nicklas Backstrom scored with 1:05 left in the second period. The Caps won that game, 3-2, when Eric Fehr scored later in the third period. The second occurrence took place last Sunday when Ryan Callahan scored shorthanded 86 seconds after a power play goal by Ovechkin. The Rangers won, 4-1.

-- On two occasions the Caps allowed a goal after one they scored twice in the same game. The first came on November 27th in a 6-4 loss to Ottawa. The first instance came when Bobby Ryan scored a first period power play goal just 78 seconds after Eric Fehr scored the game's first goal. The second came in the third period when Zack Smith gave the Senators a 5-4 lead just 64 seconds after John Carlson tied the game on a power play goal. Ottawa won, 6-4.

-- The second time the Caps allowed two goals less than two minutes after scoring one themselves came against Carolina on January 2nd. Alex Ovechkin scored at the 49 second mark of the second period to tie the game at 1-1. Just 55 seconds later, Manny Malhotra scored to restore the Hurricanes' lead. The second one came later in the second period after Steve Oleksy scored to give the Capitals a 3-2 lead. Forty seconds later it was Jeff Skinner tying the game once more. Carolina won in overtime, 4-3.

-- Seven times it was in the third period that the Caps allowed a goal less than two minutes after scoring one themselves. The Caps were 3-3-1 in those games. Of note among the four losses, one was in overtime (December 21, a 5-4 loss to New Jersey), one was in regulation (a 3-2 loss to Vancouver on October 28th), and another was a two-goal loss in which the Caps allowed an empty netter for the final margin (a 6-4 loss to Ottawa on November 27th).

-- As you might expect, most of the instances in which the Caps allowed a goal less than two minutes after scoring one came after goals by Alex Ovechkin. You would be right. It has happened seven times after Ovechkin goals (including, as noted above, after four power play goals). Next in line is Eric Fehr. It has happened three times after his goals. Given that he has eight goals all season, the Caps might want to pay special attention after Fehr scores. After that, it looks like this...

-- There are 13 forwards and eight defensemen who have been victimized by being on ice for these quick-strike goals. Among the forwards, Mikhail Grabovski and Joel Ward have been on ice for the most goals against. Both have been on ice for nine of the 21 such goals scored. After that, it looks like this...

-- Among the defensemen, Karl Alzner has been on ice for the most quick-strike goals against with nine. After that seven other defensemen can claim having been on ice for at least one such goal:

-- Among the goalies, all three who have dressed for the Caps this season were abused by such goals:

-- As for the teams who took the Caps to the shed shortly after allowing a goal, 15 different teams turned the trick on the Caps. The Rangers did it three times to lead the assault. Four other teams - Calgary, Colorado, Ottawa, and Carolina - did it twice, the Senators and Hurricanes doing it in the same game. Ten other teams did it once:

  • Chicago
  • Winnipeg
  • Vancouver
  • New York Islanders
  • Montreal
  • Nashville
  • Florida
  • Philadelphia
  • New Jersey
  • Pittsburgh

-- Did home or road make a difference? A little, but not much. The odd part, though, is that it happened to the Caps 12 times at home, including five of the last six instances.

-- There is a flip side to this. The Caps have had the odd occasion of scoring a goal of their own less than two minutes after allowing one. It has happened eight times. And here is the odd part about that. It has been done by eight different players:

  • Alex Ovechkin (in a 3-2 loss to Carolina on October 10th)
  • Eric Fehr (in a 5-1 loss to Colorado on October 12th)
  • John Carlson (in a 3-2 Gimmick win over Florida on November 2nd)
  • Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich (in a 6-4 loss to Ottawa on November 27th)
  • Nicklas Backstrom (in a 3-2 overtime win over the Islanders on November 30th)
  • Joel Ward (in a 3-2 trick shot win loss Florida on December 13th)
  • Troy Brouwer (in a 4-3 overtime loss to Carolina on January 2nd)

-- Ah, but even with this there is a dark flip side (two flip sides?). The Caps scored eight goals within two minutes of their opponents scoring one. Eight of the 19 goals the Caps allowed within two minutes of scoring one were scored within ONE minute of the Caps' score, five of them within 30 seconds.

-- That's 19 games in which it has happened to the Caps, eight in which they turned the tables and did it to the other guys. It is a record of 7-9-3 when it happens to them, 2-3-2 when they do it to their opponents. Seems it hardly matters much who does it, it generally does not mean a happy ending in Caps games, at least so far.

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