Thursday evening started with a large dose of heartwarming when Fatima Al Ali, the Caps’ guest from the UAE, dropped the puck for the opening faceoff and took one of the best selfies of all time. It ended with the Capitals beating the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 6-3, scoring five or more goals at home for the tenth time in a row. Time is a flat circle.
This win came with the rarest of stats — Alex Ovechkin did not have a single shot on goal. This is the first time the Caps’ captain has been held shotless in 315 games. That’s 35 percent of his career. Overall, the Caps played a particularly deadly brand of hockey, outshooting the Wings 47 shot attempts to 29 at five-on-five and beating them resoundingly in scoring chances, 29 to 16.
The entire fourth line. Cheating a bit here, but the fourth line had a minor watershed moment Thursday. They skated almost 12 minutes together (second most used trio on the team), and weren’t on for a goal against. With Burakovsky out, Wilson stepped up to play 15:52 at five-on-five — his second most ice time of the season. A battle-hardened shift by them also led to sustained pressure, a line change, and eventually a John Carlson goal. With the season dragging on, the more ice time the lower lines can manage the more rest the big guns will get.
Back in early December, we lamented that the Capitals needed more goal scoring from their depth players. At the time, more than two-thirds of Caps goals were scored by the top six skaters (by ice time). That trend has certainly changed. Prior to December 3, the Caps saw 68 percent of their goals scored by the top-six, and since then that number has dropped significantly to 59 percent. This bodes well for any future matchups.
Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey and NaturalStatTrick.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.
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