Tom Wilson is one of the most important players on the Capitals. Wilson is the rare forward that plays big minutes in all situations. He plays on the first line, penalty kill, and power play.
So it would be understandable if the Capitals struggled without Wilson’s services during his seven-game suspension. But that’s not what happened.
Instead, the Capitals had a clean sweep, going 7-0 against the Flyers (3x), Devils, Sabres, Islanders, and Rangers. At times, the team got great goaltending, scoring from up and down the lineup, and herculean performances from its captain.
“When they go out there and take care of business, they play the way they are, you’re a proud teammate,” Wilson said Friday. “You’re extremely happy.”
3/7/2021 – Caps beat Flyers, 3-1
The Capitals won their first game with Wilson out, 3-1. Ilya Samsonov was brilliant and made 37 saves in the victory. Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, and Nick Jensen all scored.
3/9/2021 – Caps beat Devils, 5-4 (OT)
In Game 2, the Capitals surrendered two huge leads to the Devils – 2-0 and 4-1 – but wound up winning in overtime after Jakub Vrana, who was benched in the third period, scored on a breakaway.
3/11/2021 – Caps beat Flyers, 5-3
In Game 3, Nic Dowd scored twice while Alex Ovechkin added his 715th career goal. Things got sketchy late in the game. The Capitals, who took a 4-1 lead into the third period, gave up two unanswered goals to the Flyers before Dowd iced it with a miracle empty-netter from behind the Capitals net.
3/13/2021 – Caps beat Flyers, 5-4
The Capitals got goals from all over the roster during this game: Daniel Sprong, Carl Hagelin, Nick Jensen, Alex Ovechkin, and Nic Dowd. The Capitals again let things get sketchy late, seeing their 5-2 third period lead evaporate to a 5-4 win. Four straight wins.
3/15/2021 – Caps shutout Sabres, 6-0
The Capitals destroyed the Sabres in their fifth game without Tom. The Capitals got goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, Richard Panik, Daniel Sprong, Garnet Hathaway, and Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin tied Phil Esposito for sixth on the all-time goals list. Vitek Vanecek also registered his first career shutout, making 23 saves in the W.
3/16/2021 – Caps beat Islanders, 3-1
Alex Ovechkin moved past Esposito with his 718th goal and tallied his 1,300th and 1,301st points in the victory. TJ Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom also contributed goals. Ilya Samsonov stopped 21 of 22 shots.
3/19/2021 – Caps beat Rangers, 2-1
After falling behind 1-0 to the Rangers early, the Capitals were saved by their captain late in the third. Alex Ovechkin scoring two big rebound goals from the crease giving the Capitals another huge win.
During the Capitals’ Tomlessness, the team scored 29 goals — 4.14 goals per game — and tallied five or more goals in four different contests (all consecutive). The Capitals had a goal differential of plus-15. In four of the seven games, the Capitals gave up one goal or less.
Some games they out-scored their opponents and held on to win while in others, they slowed games down and got great goaltending. They won a whole bunch of different ways, which shows how versatile this veteran Capitals team is.
The Caps’ seven-game winning streak is now the longest active winning streak in the NHL. They’ve also won 11 of their last 12 overall.
The Capitals are 11-1-0 in their last 12 games.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 20, 2021
The Capitals kept winning without Tom and their third-line center, Lars Eller, for most of that stretch. Peter Laviolette opted to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen during the games Eller was out, benching the seventh d-man. The Capitals essentially would play a man down and still end up victorious.
Saturday, Wilson returns to the lineup in the Capitals’ rematch against the Rangers and things may finally go back to normal – perhaps with Lars back too. Teej is going to be so happy.
brb sobbing 🥺 pic.twitter.com/mua1a4Uqku
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 11, 2021
But what a great stretch of hockey we’ve witnessed from this team lately. Unbelievable.
Screenshot courtesy of NBC Sports Washington
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