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The regular season journey for the Washington Capitals in the 2015-2016 season ended where it started, on Verizon Center ice. While the last home game did not end as happily as the first one (a 5-3 win over New Jersey last October), it did serve a purpose – to give some of the stars a night off and reward some others for their hard work and patience this season.
Here's Sunday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Getting through it. Some players rested, no one got hurt. These were the priorities, and they were fulfilled.
- Minus: Having to play this game. The league requires teams play 82 games, but there was a distinct lack of energy in this one, even from the Ducks, who had something to play for.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Justin Williams became, by our count, the 304th player in NHL history to appear in 1,000 games. He led the team in shots on goal (four) and shot attempts (eight) in this game.
- The Caps’ lineup certainly had a preseason game feel to it, with injuries (Jay Beagle) and regulars held out of the lineup. The second line of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams, and Andre Burakovsky was the only one kept intact to start the game, the top line being one of T.J. Oshie, Jason Chimera, and Marcus Johansson. Stanislav Galiev, Michael Latta, and Zach Sill – none of whom have seen a lot of ice time lately – were assembled as the fourth line.
- Marcus Johansson was called for a slashing penalty in the second period. Call CNN. It was just his eighth minor penalty this season.
- Michael Latta broke his tie with Tom Wilson for the team lead in fighting majors when he took on Clayton Stoner late in the first period for his eighth fighting major of the season.
- The Caps were 0-for-3 on the power play, finishing the season 0-for-12 over their last five games. On the other hand, the penalty killers were 3-for-3 in this game, making them 13-for-14 over their last five games.
- Both Duck goals might have been described as "squeaky." The first came as Corey Perry took the great circle route around the back of the Caps’ net and wrapped the puck around the post, squeaking past goalie Philipp Grubauer’s left pad, then off the inside of his right pad and into the net. The second came when Mike Santorelli won the dance solo competition with the puck along the left wing boards, fired a shot from a bad angle, and Mick Ritchie got enough of his stick on it to squeak over Grubauer’s glove.
- How did we know this was a Game 82 with no impact on the standings for the Caps? Mike Weber: 18:08 in ice time, his high as a Capital. Taylor Chorney: 16:43 in ice time, the most he had in a game since December 20th in a 7-3 win over the New York Rangers (18:40).
- Johansson had a rough night, and not just for taking the rare penalty. One shot attempt (missed), 2-for-12 on faceoffs, and a minus-1 in 17 minutes.
- The combined 45 shots on goal (24 for the Caps, 21 for the Ducks) was the lowest game total involving the Caps since December 18th, when the Caps (23) and Tampa Bay Lighting (19) combined for 42 shots on goal.
- Philipp Grubauer finished the season with losses in his last four starts over five appearances, with a goals against of 3.37 and a save percentage of .872. The two-goals allowed, and the Caps inability to get one, gave the Jennings Trophy for the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it to the Ducks.