On A Roll – The Caps came up on the short end of a 4-3 shootout decision in the 2009-10 season finale against Boston this afternoon. But by any measure, Washington is heading into the postseason on quite a roll.
The Caps are 5-0-2 in their last seven games. They are 13-2-5 in 20 games since the conclusion of the NHL’s Olympic break. And they fashioned a 30-4-7 record (67 points) in the season’s second half. If maintained over the course of a full regular season slate of 82 games, Washington’s second-half pace would result in a league record for points in a season.
Washington collected at least a point in 67 of its 82 regular season contests this season. That figure represents the most games with a point by any team in the league since the Detroit Red Wings picked up a point in 69 of 82 games during the 1995-96 season.
The Capitals finished the season with 313 goals and are the highest scoring team in the league since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Now, the Capitals await their first-round opponent and the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs later this week.
“Well, we’re really glad it is over,” says Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “We’ve known for a long time that we were going to be in the playoffs. As much as you want to push them, they are looking forward to a different kind of challenge. For that I am happy that the regular season is over.
“I think there is a bigger target, but at the same time we are just anxious to get going. We know we are going to play a good team. Once you have clinched stuff in the regular season, this is your next goal – this is the carrot, the thing that is going to drive you. Starting next week we are looking forward to the next challenge.”
Cooking At Home – With a 30-5-6 home ice record this season, Washington matched a franchise record for home wins in a season, a mark set in 1985-86. For the first time in franchise history, the Capitals recorded sellouts for all 41 regular season home dates. The Caps established a franchise attendance record as 749,357 folks rolled through the turnstiles this season.
The Big 5-0 – Congratulations to Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz, who finished the season at plus-50 to lead all NHL players. Schultz rolled up a plus-11 in his last three games to obliterate the single-season individual franchise mark established by Alan Haworth in 1985-86.
40/300 – Semin scored the Caps’ first goal early in the first period. The tally was his 40th of the season and it was also the 300th point of his NHL career.
Semin is the ninth Russian player to post a 40-goal season in the NHL. Ovechkin (50 goals) and Semin give the Caps the league’s first Russian duo with 40 goals in a season, and the Caps their first pair of 40-goal getter since Dino Ciccarelli, Geoff Courtnall and Mike Ridley in 1988-89.
With 90 goals, Ovechkin and Semin have more goals this season than any other pair of teammates in 2009-10.
500 Club – Caps left wing Jason Chimera skated in the 500th game of his NHL career here today against the Bruins. Chimera racked up 14 penalty minutes to commemorate the occasion.
“Spent a lot of time in the penalty box, that’s for sure,” he muses. “Wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s a great milestone. You play a long time in this game, you’ll get to 500, it’s a special day.”
Quick Response – Eric Belanger’s 15th goal of the season made it a 2-2 game at 15:14 of the first period. Belanger’s goal came just 19 seconds after Boston’s Michael Ryder had scored to give the Bruins a lead. It is the fastest Washington goal after an opposition tally this season.
Caps right wing Matt Bradley assisted on Belanger’s goal, giving him a career-high 14 helpers on the season.
Happy Birthday – To ex-Cap Ben Clymer, born on this day in 1978. To original (1974-75) Cap (and father-in-law to Brendan Morrison) Ron Jones, born on this day in 1951. And to short-time Cap Trevor Linden, who celebrates his 40th birthday today.
By The Numbers –Tom Poti recorded his 20th assist of the season in Sunday’s game, reaching that mark for the eighth time in his NHL career … The Caps scored first in each of their last six games of the season (5-0-1) and in 52 of 82 (38-7-7) during the entire campaign … Washington established a franchise record for fewest penalty minutes in a season (940), erasing the previous mark of 951 set in 1975-76.
Down On The Farm – The AHL Hershey Bears wrapped up an historic 2009-10 regular season last night in Norfolk with a 5-2 loss to the Admirals. The Bears finished the regular season with an AHL-record 60 wins, posting a 60-17-0-3 mark. Hershey now waits to learn the identity (later today) of its first-round opponent as it prepares to defend its Calder Cup title. The Bears will open the playoffs at Giant Center on Wednesday.
Down a level, the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays staved off elimination with a 3-2 overtime win over the Cincinnati Cyclones in Game 4 of the opening round Kelly Cup playoff series between the two teams on Saturday night at North Charleston Coliseum.
Gregg Johnson got the game-winner for the Stingrays to force a deciding Game 5 at 7 p.m. tonight in Charleston. Trevor Bruess and Dylan Yeo scored the other South Carolina goals and Todd Ford made 22 saves to earn the win.
1 - 0 WSH
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 BOS
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 WSH
3 - 3 Tie
Interference on goalkeeper