Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is off to the greatest start of his career.
Carlson has scored 14 points, which, incredibly and improbably, leads the NHL. Only two other Capitals players, both forwards, have ever scored 14 points or more in the first eight games of a season: Alex Ovechkin (2009-10: 9g, 7a) and Alex Semin (2008-09: 7g, 7a). He also leads the league in assists (11). He’s on pace for over 100 points.
Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Carlson registered his second three-point game of the year, tallying a goal and two assists. The game was his fifth multi-point game of the year overall.
Carlson’s lone goal of the night came in the second period, where the Caps scored three goals in a one-minute and 18-second span. After Alex Ovechkin faked a slap shot, the Capitals captain sent a misdirect pass to Carlson for a one-timer. Carlson blasted the puck past Michal Hutchinson for his third goal of the year.
John Carlson gives the Caps a 4-2 lead after this beautiful setup by Alex Ovechkin pic.twitter.com/gqhpZGOPMn
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) October 17, 2019
Carlson also assisted on a first-period Jakub Vrana goal, where he found a seam and hit the Czech forward wide open for a one-timer.
Jakub Vrana scores after a perfect pass by John Carlson. 2-1 Leafs. pic.twitter.com/w4stnFqicj
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) October 16, 2019
Later, he fed Evgeny Kuznetsov for a breakaway, his second primary assist of the night.
“I’m just getting lucky,” Carlson said when asked how he’s leading the league in points and assists. “Guys are making some good plays to me. The guys I’m passing to are scoring right now. Especially as a D, it’s pretty streaky. You take it when you can. A lot of guys making a lot of plays out there.”
The remarkable part about Carlson’s production is that most of it is coming at even strength. Only five of Carlson’s 14 points have come on the powerplay, where he benefits as being Alex Ovechkin’s primary setup man.
Carlson is also doing all of this while leading the team in ice time. He skated a team-high 28:05 against the Leafs with Jonas Siegenthaler forced to leave the game early with injury.
John Carlson skated 28:05 TOI tonight, his highest total of the season, and he's led the Capitals in ice time in every game this season.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 17, 2019
What a time to be alive.
11:20 update: Connor McDavid took the league lead in points (16) and tied Carlson in assists (11) after registering three points in the first two periods against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Headline photo: NBC Sports Washington
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