The Washington Capitals are finally starting to bounce back from their midseason woes. After an abysmal start to 2022, the Capitals are now 5-1 in their last six games and are averaging more than four goals a game in that same stretch.
Washington is also finally getting some decent play from their goalies. All season Vitek Vanacek and Ilya Samsonov had been switching off their playing time, and neither could really get themselves in a groove.I’m going to discuss the Capitals recent games and what to expect coming up.
Finally Winning Again
Before this current winning streak, the Capitals had not won three straight games since late November. Now they are winners of ⅚ and are looking to add to that against Columbus on Thursday night.
Vitek Vanecek has won his last five starts and has a .925 save percentage in the month of March so far. He’s going to be an integral part of the Caps making a run in the playoffs if they can get there.
Another promising sign from the Capitals is that they’re starting to win overtime and shootout games. Early in the season the Caps lost their first seven overtime games, which is a really bad sign. You have to be able to, as a team, win close games that are tough and tiring.
Now the Capitals have won five of their last six overtime games including an exciting shootout victory over the Islanders on Tuesday. If they can keep up the good work and keep winning in OT they could sneak back into the top three in the metro division.
Ovechkin passes Jagr
On Tuesday night Alexander Ovechkin got a pass off of the faceoff in the offensive zone and fired a lightning quick snapshot that beat Semyon Varlamov over his glove. With that goal Ovechkin passed Jagr for third all-time on the NHL’s scoring list.
Ovechkin is now the highest scoring player in NHL history that is not Canadian. Gordie Howe (801) and Wayne Gretzky (894) are the only two people left in front of the Great Eight. Ovechkin is on pace to pass Howe next season and Gretzky before his contract expires in 2026.
Jagr released a heartfelt video congratulating Ovechkin on his accomplishment, but warned him not to get complacent. Jagr jokingly said he may come back and start chasing down Ovechkin’s new record.
Jagr and Gretzky have both stated that they think and hope that Ovechkin will break Gretzky’s record of 894 NHL goals. Ovechkin could try to become the first player to ever score 900 goals in his NHL career.
I certainly think Ovechkin’s chase of these records has motivated and energized this Capitals team. They all were beyond happy when Ovi passed Jagr, and have been supportive of his chase his whole career. It seems to have re-energized the team who will be looking to win back-to-back games on Thursday in Columbus and Friday in Carolina.
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