The Washington Capitals opened their 2018-2019 season with a pair of back-to-back games, beating the Boston Bruins, 7-0, on Banner Night, and then dropping a 7-6 overtime decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Pens’ home opener. They get to do the back-to-back thing again in the week to come, hosting the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday and heading to New Jersey to face the Devils on Thursday. They will wrap up the week hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. So, what might we look for in the week to come?
Vegas will be in the midst of a five-game road trip when they visit Washington after opening the season with a 5-2 loss at home to the Philadelphia Flyers. Washington was 0-2-0 against Vegas last season, dropping a 3-0 decision in Las Vegas and losing at home, 4-3. There was that whole Stanley Cup finals thing, though
New Jersey will be playing only their second game of the season when they host the Caps, having beaten the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2, in their season opener on October 6th, the first of a five-game home stand to start the season. The Caps went 3-0-1 against the Devils last season, outscoring them 18-11 over the four games.
Toronto will be wrapping up a four-game road trip when they visit Washington on Saturday, part of a busy early schedule in which they will have played six games in 11 days to open the season. The Capitals swept the two-game season series last year against the Maple Leafs, a 4-2 win in Toronto and a 5-2 win in the outdoors at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
After facing two opponents who cleared the 100-point mark last season in Week 1, the Caps will begin and end the week against another pair of 100-plus point clubs from last season in Vegas (109 points/fifth in the league) and Toronto (105/seventh). New Jersey was not far off (97 points).
- T.J. Oshie has three goals in two games, tied for second place in the league on Sunday (with Auston Matthews and Elias Pettersson), one behind Jonathan Toews
- Nicklas Backstrom has four assists, tied for second with four other players, one behind Brad Marchand.
- John Carlson is picking up where he left off at the end of last season, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen going into the second week of the season (with Kris Letang and Thomas Chabot)
- Andre Burakovsky is the only forward yet to record a point so far.
- Jakub Vrana was charged with three giveaways last week. With one takeaway on his ledger he has the worst takeaway-to-giveaway ratio on the club
- Christian Djoos has been on ice for 38 shot attempts at 5-on-5, most on the club. His plus-13 in shot attempts is, by far, the best on the club (Kuznetsov: plus-4).
- The Caps have 13 goals going into Week 2; John Carlson has been on ice for nine of them and only on goal against.
Potential Milestones In Reach This Week:
- Alex Ovechkin, with 609 career goals, needs one goal to tie Bobby Hull for 17th place on the all-time goal scoring list.
- Nicklas Backstrom, with a big week, could hit the 600-assist mark in his career. He needs six helpers to get there.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov can do some major leap-frogging up the franchise goal scoring list this week. His 82 career goals are tied with Jason Chimera for 37th place on the Caps’ all-time list. A five-goal week in three games would catapult him into a tie for 31st place in team history, joining Gaetan Duchesne and Eric Fehr with 87 goals.
- T.J. Oshie is lurking in that region of the Caps’ all-time goal scoring list (80), so he could do some rank climbing as well.
- The same might be said for John Carlson, who sits close by with 79 goals.
- Three assists for Kuznetsov would allow him to pass Marcus Johansson (188) for 25th place on the Caps’ all-time list for assists.
- With two power play goals, Nicklas Backstrom would tie Dave Christian (67) for fifth place all time in power play goals for the Caps.
- With seven power play opportunities on home ice this week, the Caps would become the fifth team over the last 40 seasons to record 7,000 power play chances on home ice (Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, and Buffalo are the others).