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Capitals vs Jets Recap: Caps Win, Backstrom Tied For NHL Scoring Lead

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Big time contributions from tied-for-the-NHL-point-lead Nicklas Backstrom and NHL-goal-scoring-leader Alex Ovechkin paved the way to the Caps' third consecutive victory against a one-time division foe.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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After a successful business trip to the left coast, and then a satisfying pitstop in the Steel City, the Capitals played host to an old foe, the Winnipeg Jets, in their return to the Phone Booth. After such an excitable stretch, it was easy to see the potential for a bit of a Thursday-night dud in the crystal ball...but that's not at all how it turned out, with the Caps playing well in all game situations and securing a 5-1 win with major contributions from their big guns.

Thursday night's Plus/Minus:

Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: With three power play goals, it's tough to look beyond the man advantage for tonight's plus. And as an added bonus, Nicklas Backstrom had a hand in all three such tallies, earning him a tie with Patrick Kane for the NHL League lead in scoring. Not bad for a non-All-Star.
  • Minus: Well, Mike Green taking a puck to the skate late in a game well-in-hand won't help you sleep at night. Caps have had a nice bill of health this season. Let's hope it stays that way.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Having scored 21 goals in his last 23 games coming into this one, another tally or two on the scoresheet was pretty much the expectation of Alexander Ovechkin. And say one thing for this years iteration of Alexander Ovechkin, say he meets (exceeds) expectations. Before the first period was over, Alex had already notched League-leading goal number 38— and what a beauty it was. Ovechkin just abused Jacob Trouba all night long. Miley bein' Miley.
  • He was great in Pittsburgh, he's been great all year, and if you're worried about Braden Holtby's workload, you shouldn't be. He didn't have to be great tonight, but he still picked up his 28th win on the season, and improved his already career-best GAA. Just another day at work for Holts. Usually that means two-points, and tonight was no exception.
  • As we cruise into late February, the scoreboard watching ramps up— and even though the Eastern Conference playoff teams seem to for the most part be decided, no scoreboard must go unwatched. The Islanders, Rangers, and Penguins— the three teams ahead of the Caps in the Metropolitan Division— were all in action tonight...and only the Pens lost in regulation, which means the Caps jump them in the standings for the time being, though the Pens do still have a game in hand. Thanks, Columbus. The Rags picked up a loser point, falling in the shootout to Vancouver. At this point with those guys, we'll take it.
  • It was John Carlson blasting a point shot past Ondrej Pavelec to open the scoring, not to mention to give Nicklas Backstrom his league leading 45th assist. It was also Carlson's 40th point of the year, tying him with four others (including Dustin Byfuglien) for 6th in league in scoring amongst defenseman. Pretty great winning offensive zone draws on the power play, huh? Pretty great.
  • And by now you know how good the Caps have been this year when they score first (and if you don't, they entered the game with a 27-1-4 record in those such scenarios). Put another tally in the win column.
  • Earlier today, J.P. wrote about how the Caps— in stark contrast to the bulk of this season— have actually playing pretty well of late while leading. Jumping out to a two-goal lead before the first period over meant the Caps would have plenty of opportunity to prove this blog's editor right. The thrust of that piece was cemented in the Caps improved play at 5v5...it was special teams play that accelerated this tilt, but we're not complaining either way.
  • The Caps came into this one having not relinquished a power play goal to their opponent and three consecutive games, and ten consecutive opportunities. Well, make it four games and twelve consecutive opportunities. Nice job on the PK, and better job and minimizing the necessity for the aforementioned nice job.
  • One of the biggest reversals from the Adam Oates Caps to the Barry Trotz Caps is how they've gone from a team that hemorrhages shots against, to a top-10 shot suppression team. They came into tonight's game averaging 26.8 5v5 shots against per game, and then put on a clinic against a top-10 shot generation team. After 1 period, Winnipeg only had 5 shots at five-a-side. After 2 periods they only had 8, and they finished the game with only 13.
  • Don't look now, but on a day when Justin Bourne took a look at the most likely contenders for the Art Ross trophy, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had multipoint games. Nicklas Backstrom is now tied with Patrick Kane for the NHL scoring lead, and Alex Ovechkin only two points behind him. You, uh, you like to see that.
  • And in today's version of the uncanny: short-handed empty netters in back-to-back game for the Caps. Alrighty then. And honestly, who scores an empty netter with 6:27 left? Troy Brouwer, that's who.

The Caps haven't won four games in a row all season long. They'll get another shot at that elusive number on Saturday morning, and, uh, the two points against the Metro-leading New York Islanders might go a-ways towards finally moving up a notch or two in the playoff picture.

Game highlights: