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The Caps and Devils played bonus hockey on Saturday afternoon after the Caps tied the game late. After an entertaining five-minute OT period, the teams went to the shootout, where the Captain clinched it for the good guys.
Check back for our full recap later, but first, here's Saturday afternoon's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Patience. The Devils play a game that frustrates clubs, and when they took a lead, the Caps could have tried to take some shortcuts outside their system. They did not.
- Minus: Special teams. The power play drew a blank, and the penalty kill gave up a goal. Not the differential you like to see.
Ten more notes on the game:
- When Evgeny Kuznetsov looped around the net in the 13th minute of the second period, Eric Gelinas anticipated that little back pass Kuznetsov likes to use and got a piece of the puck coming through, but it was not quite enough as the puck made its way through with just enough pace for Andre Burakovsky to work it past goalie Cory Schneider and give the Caps a 1-0 lead.
- For Burakovsky it was his fifth consecutive game with a goal (six over that span). It was his tenth of the season, giving the Caps their eighth player to reach double digits in goals this season. They had ten reach that mark all of last season.
- Burakovsky appeared in his 100th game for the Caps, the 161st player in franchise history to reach that mark. He joins Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Matt Niskanen as Capitals to hit the 100-game mark with the team this season.
- The Caps allowed a power play goal. That makes six games in eight in which they allowed at least one, over which they are 21-for-28 (75.0 percent).
- New Jersey had ten shot attempts in the first period. Not ten shots on goal, ten shot attempts. They had only 11 in the second period. We’re not sure if that is great Capitals defense or the Devils’ offense is that thin.
- Congrats to Paul Carey, who recorded his first NHL goal to tie the game late in the third period. It was not a cheap one, but the product of nice stick work to redirect a shot off his backhand up and over Cory Schneider.
- The Devils came into this game with a 9-1-0 record in games in which they held teams to one goal or none, 17-19-6 when they allowed opponents two or more goals. That made Paul Carey’s late goal so important.
- The Caps finished the game with a 54-39 edge in shot attempts, a 30-24 edge in shots on goal. The latter was the fewest shots on goal allowed in a win since they allowed the Tampa Bay Lightning 19 shots on goal in a 5-3 win on December 18th (they allowed the Florida Panthers just 19 shots in a 5-2 loss last Tuesday).
- Nicklas Backstrom does so many things well, it is noteworthy when he struggles. He won just three of 15 draws in this game.
- If the NHL actually recorded time of possession, the second line for the Caps – Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, and Justin Williams – might lead the league. That trio accounted for seven of the Caps’ 30 shots on goal and 13 of the teams’ 54 shot attempts, but it was their constant weaving and looping that chewed up whole shifts’ worth of ice time.
And now, this...