It’s been a while, but Peerless has been sitting at the end of the bar pondering some odd and random facts about the Caps as they wrap up their road trip this weekend. He has a six-pack of them waiting for you…
-- Alex Ovechkin started the season tied with Bernie Nichols for 50th place on the all-time goal scoring list with 475 goals. Do you know how many players he passed on the all-time list between then and now? Five? Six? Seven? Try twelve. Here they are and where they were to start this season…
39. Jean Beliveau: 507
40. Peter Bondra: 503
41. Joe Mullen: 502
42. Lanny McDonald: 500
43. Glenn Anderson: 498
44. Jean Ratelle: 491
45. Norm Ullman: 490
46. Marian Hossa: 486 (he has ten this season to reach 496 and is now 44th)
47. Brian Bellows: 485
48: Darryl Sittler: 484
49. Sergei Fedorov 483
T-50. Bernie Nichols 475
T-50. Alex Ovechkin 475
Ovechkin passed Beliveau for 39th place with his hat trick against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. He is on a pace to finish the season with 51 goals. If he does, he would pass another six players on the all-time list, eventually passing Bryan Trottier for 33rd place on the list.
-- Nicklas Backstrom had a "trick" of his own on Thursday night. He assisted on all three goals, giving him his third three-assist game of the season. Only the Ottawa Senators’ Erik Karlsson has more (four). Since Backstrom came into the league in 2007-2008, no player has more games with three or more assists. The three-helper night on Thursday was the 30th time in his career he recorded three or more assists, breaking a tie with Sidney Crosby. Since he came into the league, Backstrom is third in total assists (462), behind only Joe Thornton (487) and Henrik Sedin (503). He is third in assists per game (0.74) behind Sedin (0.76) and Crosby (0.83); minimum: 250 games played. His three assists against the Wild lifted him past the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin into 20th place among active players in assists.
-- Speaking of helpers, the Caps have six players on a pace to finish with 30 or more assists: Evgeny Kuznetsov (60), Backstrom (55), John Carlson (39), Justin Williams (31), Matt Niskanen (31), and Marcus Johansson (31). Last season, the Caps had three players finish with 30 or more assists: Backstrom (60), Carlson (43), and Mike Green (35).
-- Nate Schmidt had five blocked shots against the Wild on Thursday to lead the team. A lot of attention centers on Karl Alzner in this category because he ranks third in the league in blocked shots (135). But in terms of blocks per 60 minutes, Schmidt (5.38/60) is not too far behind Alzner (6.18).
-- It does not count for as much these days, with more detailed and sophisticated measures of even strength play available, but Alzner has only one game this season in which he was worse than a minus-1. He was a minus-2 against the Dallas Stars in a 3-2 loss on November 19th, something he will get a chance to remedy on Saturday night.
-- In the "he’s due…he’s really due" department, there are 350 forwards having appeared in at least 25 games and averaging at least ten minutes of ice time per game. Of that number, Brooks Laich is 343rd in shooting percentage (1.7 percent on 1-for-59 shooting). He’s due…he’s really, really due.