13 games into his first full NHL season, Travis Boyd is averaging over a half point per game.
Saturday against the Blue Jackets, the Capitals rookie center finally scored his first NHL goal – a layup in front of the net. While the tally had no impact on who won or lost the game, everything about it was special.
The fourth-liner’s goal was assisted by Alex Ovechkin, one of the greatest players of all-time.
The play started after a fantastic defensive play by Nic Dowd and Alex Ovechkin. As Ryan Murray tried to advance past center ice, the Blue Jackets defenseman lost possession of the puck as he ran into Dowd and then later Ovechkin.
Ovechkin tracked the loose biscuit down before finding Boyd hustling towards the net.
Boyd one-timed Ovechkin’s pass home for NHL goal number one.
After scoring, Boyd overskated a celebrating Alex Ovechkin so he embraced Dowd first. The moment was poignant considering Dowd is the free-agent signing Boyd has been competing with for playing time on the fourth line.
Linesman Ryan Galloway made sure to get Boyd’s milestone puck to Caps athletic trainer Jason Serbus at the bench so he could keep it forever.
After the Capitals 4-0 win, Boyd was given a facewash from Ovechkin to celebrate his NHL first.
Ovi's To Do List:
✅ Hugs for Holtby
✅ Headpats for Nicke
✅ Punches for Andre
✅ Facewash for Boyd's first goal :))))))) pic.twitter.com/aXYYeS5j3s
— b. (@youripides) December 9, 2018
“It’s pretty cool how it worked out for me,” Boyd said after the game. “My first assist was on an Ovi goal and then he feeds me a beautiful pass and I had a wide-open net for my first goal – so pretty cool.”
Boyd then posed with his new vulcanized rubber momento.
Boyd also assisted on Dmitrij Jaskin’s first goal as a Capital — capping an impressive night for the team’s fourth line. The evening marked Boyd’s second career two-point game.
While Boyd is putting up impressive dashboard stats early, his underlying play remains concerning. According to Natural Stat Trick, Boyd has a 41.7 shot-attempts percentage through 13 games – the lowest on the team. Meanwhile, the Capitals have a 29.7 high-danger chance percentage when Boyd’s skating – also lowest on the team. Boyd has managed to hide those shortcomings by having a 60 percent goals-for rate. That means that when Boyd is on the ice, he and his teammates are converting on those few opportunities they get.
In four games since Thanksgiving, Boyd’s play has improved while playing on the wing instead of center. If the 25-year-old can figure things out, he may have a higher ceiling than once thought. It’s clear the sixth-round pick has soft hands, above average offensive instincts, and a great work ethic. His talent at the other more subtle parts of NHL hockey, however, remains to be seen.
Headline photo: @Capitals
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