By Nathan Sick
Wednesday night, the Caps kept us all up late and beat the Avs by a score of 5-3. They have now won six in a row just when they needed to most. The game featured the second consecutive comeback push by the opposition, as well as a lucky charm goal by Jay Beagle and an absurd superstar effort by Nathan MacKinnon. With Pittsburgh getting blown out by the Chicago Blackhawks the Caps have re-established a solid cushion in the Metro division.
After playing a lackluster game just the night before and finding themselves on the road against arguably the worst team in the modern era, this game was the definition of a trap. But the Capitals found their legs and applied good pressure by the end of the second period, taking 23 shot attempts at five-on-five to just nine against in the middle frame. Final shot attempts were 50 to 49 in favor of the Avalanche.
Beagle and Burakovsky both had excellent games, possession-wise (and on the scoresheet), but Eller will get the award tonight. Overall, Eller’s on-ice shot attempt differential at five-on-five was exactly even, and his scoring chance differential was plus-four. His line looked solid all night, and he was rewarded with the empty netter to seal the win. After scoring 13 points in 18 games for the Canadiens in the 2013-2014 playoffs, Eller has a reputation for elevating his game come playoffs. With only 23 points on the season so far it would be nice if Eller can re-find his scoring touch so that he can turn that solid possession into concrete results.
Yesterday we got some requests in the comments to give Marcus Johansson a shout-out after his four-assist game, and well, here is that well-deserved spotlight. Mojo is always a smooth skating zone-entry master, who it’s fair to say is more important to the Caps than he gets credit for. But lately, he has been on fire, with four assists on Tuesday night and another two points last night. All in all, he has 11 points in his last 10 games (2G, 9A), providing some serious offense to help fuel the Caps on their much-needed six-game (and counting) win streak. At 54 points he has already surpassed his career high. Overall, Mojo’s stats don’t stand out too much on such a dominant Caps team (he is only ninth in five-on-five scoring rate among Caps forwards and sixth in all situations). Where he does stand out is his penalty differential – Mojo has only taken five penalties and he’s drawn 15, giving him a team-leading +10 differential. In fact, he’s one of only four Caps skaters with a positive differential. The Caps’ third-ranked PP will take that and run with it.
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Full Coverage of Caps vs Avalanche
Stats courtesy of Corsica.Hockey, NaturalStatTrick, and Hockey Reference.
Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI.
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