Green is Golden – Caps defenseman Mike Green scored a pair of power play goals in a span of 83 seconds midway through the third period on Wednesday to lift the Capitals to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders at Verizon Center.
In the process, Green became just the eighth NHL defenseman ever and the first since 1992-93 to reach the 30-goal plateau. The two power play goals were his 17th and 18th of the season, establishing a record for most power play goals in a season by a Washington defenseman. Scott Stevens previously held the mark with 16 in 1984-85.
Green’s 30-goal season is the 17th ever recorded by an NHL defenseman. Boston’s Bobby Orr notched the first 30-goal season by an NHL blueliner in 1969-70. The drought between the Caps’ Kevin Hatcher scoring 34 goals in 1992-93 and Green’s 30-goal season in 2008-09 is the longest ever between 30-goal seasons by an NHL defenseman.
Green joins Stevens, Hatcher and Larry Murphy as just the fourth defenseman in Caps history to reach 70 points in a season. Green’s 18 power play goals this season are tied for third in the league, just one off the pace set by Calgary’s Mike Cammalleri and Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek.
With his three-point night, Green extended his scoring streak to seven straight games (seven goals, five assists).
Climbing The Mountain – Thursday night’s win over the New York Islanders pushed Caps goaltender Jose Theodore’s career mark to 213-213-30-15. It is the first time Theodore’s career record has been square at .500 since Nov. 9, 1998 at which time he held an 8-8-2 lifetime record in the NHL.
If he wins his next start, Theodore would move above .500 for the first time since Feb. 17, 1997 when he was 5-4-1.
Century City – Wednesday’s win was the Capitals’ 47th of the season and it pushed the team’s point total to 101. The Caps have reached the century mark in standings points for the fifth time in franchise history and the first time since the 1990-00 outfit racked up 102 points.
With five games remaining, the Caps still have a chance at matching or breaking the team records for points (107) and wins (50), both of which were set in 1985-86.
A Firmer Foothold – Washington’s Wednesday win combined with New Jersey’s 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh pushes the Caps three points ahead of the Devils in the race for the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Both the Capitals and the Devils now have five regular season games remaining.
Nick At Nite –Nicklas Backstrom notched a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s win, and the helper was his 60th of the season. Backstrom becomes just the fourth Capitals center ever to record as many as 60 assists in a single campaign.
He joins Dennis Maruk (a club record 76 assists in 1981-82), Michal Pivonka (65 assists in 1995-96) and Adam Oates (69 helpers in 2000-01) on that short and elite list.
Thirty For Theo – Wednesday’s win was the 30th of the season for Theodore. It is the third time in his career – and the first time since 2003-04 – that he has reached that milestone. Theodore’s career best is 33 victories, established during that ’03-04 campaign. With five games remaining this season, he could get enough starts to even or better that mark.
First Scrap – Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz was sent off for fighting the Islanders’ Tim Jackman at 3:16 of the second period. The fight was the first of Schultz’s 169-game NHL career. The Washington blueliner did good to avoid fistic damage from Jackman, who was engaged in the 33rd regular season bout of his NHL career. Wednesday marked the 19th time this season that Jackman has dropped the gloves.
Club 54 – Alex Ovechkin’s second period goal was his 54th of the season, matching the total he recorded as an NHL rookie in 2005-06. Ovechkin now has 217 career goals, one shy of matching Mike Ridley’s total of 218 for third place on Washington’s all-time franchise list.
Circle Work – Washington won 45 of 69 face-offs (65%) on the night, and every Cap who took more than two draws won better that half of them.
David Steckel was 5-for-6 (83%), Aucoin was 7-for-9 (78%), Backstrom was 16-for-24 (67%), Michael Nylander was 5-for-8 (63%), and Sergei Fedorov was 11-for-18 (61%).
First Strike –Keith Aucoin scored his first NHL goal of the 2008-09 season and extended his scoring streak to three straight games (one goal, two assists) with a tally at 9:54 of the second period. For Aucoin, who is the leading scorer in the American Hockey League this season with 94 points, the goal was his first as a Capital and his first NHL strike since March 8, 2008 when he was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Aucoin is the 25th different player to find the back of the net for the Caps this season.
A Tough Foe – Wednesday’s win enabled the Caps to sweep the season’s series from the Islanders for the sixth time in franchise history and the first time since 2002-03. Although Washington won all four games between the two clubs this season, the Caps got empty-netters from Backstrom at the end of both of their games against the Isles here at Verizon, and they needed a pair of Ovechkin overtime game-winners to take the two games against the Fishermen up on Long Island.
The Capitals poured a total of 168 shots on goal in their four games against the Islanders this season, an average of 42 per game.
Happy Birthday – To ex-Caps blueliner and Hockey Hall of Famer Scott Stevens, born on this date in 1964.