MASC Washington

Metropolitan Division Preview: Washington Capitals

nhl8WASHINGTON CAPITALS: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
The Capitals enter 2019-20 having won the Metropolitan Division in each of the last four seasons, while also recording 100 or more standings points in five consecutive campaigns. They are one of 10 teams in NHL history to hit the century mark in at least five straight seasons, with the Ducks (5; 2013-14—2017-18) the last team to do so. The only streaks longer than five seasons were achieved by the Red Wings (12; 1999-00—2011-12), Canadiens (8; 1974-75—1981-82) and Oilers (6; 1981-82—1986-87).

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* Alex Ovechkin posted 1-1—2 in Washington’s first game of 2018-19, boosting his season-opening totals to 10-7—17 (14 GP). His 10 goals in season openers are tied with UFA Patrick Marleau for the most among active players, as are his 17 points (also tied with Joe Thornton).

* Nicklas Backstrom began 2018-19 with one of his 42 career games with at least three assists. His 14 helpers in season-opening contests are the most among active players (0-14—14 in 11 GP), two shy of tying Gary Suter (2-16—18 in 15 GP) and Joe Sakic (11-16—27 in 20 GP) for 10th place on the NHL’s all-time list.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Alex Ovechkin has reached the 40-goal mark 10 times over the course of his 14-season career, including a League-high 51 tallies in 2018-19. With another 40 goals in 2019-20, Ovechkin can surpass Marcel Dionne (10) and Mario Lemieux (10) for the second-most 40-goal campaigns in NHL history, trailing only Wayne Gretzky (12).

* Ovechkin (658) needs 10 goals to tie Luc Robitaille (668) for 12th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. A 50-goal season also would propel Ovechkin into a tie with Mike Gartner (708) for seventh place in NHL history. Ovechkin (247 PPG, 4th; 107 GWG, 7th) also can move up NHL lists for career power-play goals and game-winning goals.

* John Carlson can join Larry Murphy (1985-86—1987-88) and Scott Stevens (1986-87—1988-89) as the only defensemen in Capitals history to record three straight 60-point seasons.

* Nicklas Backstrom (231-642—873 in 895 GP) aims for a 10th career 50-assist season and can become the first member of the 2006 NHL Draft class to record 900 career points.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* The Capitals selected Alexander Alexeyev with their first-round pick (No. 31) in the 2018 NHL Draft. Alexeyev captured a bronze medal with Russia at the 2019 World Junior Championship and finished second in tournament scoring among defensemen (2-4—6 in 7 GP).

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Braden Holtby owns a career record of 257-108-40 in 420 regular-season appearances (2.47 GAA, .918 SV%, 35 SO), posting 40 or more wins three times. Martin Brodeur (8) is the only goaltender in NHL history with more 40-win seasons than Holtby.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Capitals. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 3 – Mikhail Grabovski (Oct. 1, 2013)
Most assists: 3 – Garnet Bailey (Feb. 11, 1975) and Kip Miller (Oct. 11, 2002)
Most points: 4 – Mikhail Grabovski (Oct. 1, 2013)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 1 – 10 players; most recent: Christian Djoos (Oct. 11, 2017)
Most assists: 2 – Mike McEwen (Nov. 27, 1984)
Most points: 2 – 3 players; most recent: Christian Djoos (Oct. 11, 2017)

GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 38 – Sebastien Charpentier (April 12, 2002)
Shutout: Maxime Ouellet (Dec. 16, 2003) and Cristobal Huet (Feb. 29, 2008)

First season with Capitals. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 52 – Alex Ovechkin (2005-06)
Most assists: 59 – Dennis Maruk (1978-79)
Most points: 106 – Alex Ovechkin (2005-06)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 13 – Larry Murphy (1983-84)
Most assists: 33 – Larry Murphy (1983-84)
Most points: 46 – Larry Murphy (1983-84)

GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 32 – Jose Theodore (2008-09)
Most Shutouts: 4 – 3; most recent: Tomas Vokoun (2011-12)

— NHL Public Relations

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