Caps continue to gain confidence with first win
Here’s a look inside the box score of the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday:
Post-game celebration: Did you notice that after the Caps’ victory players skated to center ice and raised their sticks in appreciation to their fans? The post-game salute was started by the Rangers and something only a few NHL teams do.
“Not every team does that,” Mike Ribeiro said. “When you play against [teams that do] you’re like, ‘Really?” I wasn’t always happy to see that [as an opponent].”
Dominance in the circles: The Caps won 62 percent of their faceoffs with Jay Beagle leading the way, winning 12 of 15.
Hunter hockey: They blocked 18 shots, twice as many as the Sabres. John Erskine, Joel Ward and Jeff Schultz each got in the way of three shots.
PK [Perfect Kill]: For the first time all season the Caps did not allow a power-play goal. A big reason is that they took just two penalties, a tripping minor to Erskine and a hooking minor to Joey Crabb.
Sellout crowd: Sunday’s game drew 18,506, the Caps’ 156th consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.
Scorching pace: With three goals in five games, Joel Ward is halfway toward last year’s total and on pace to score 29 goals this season. He says there’s some leftover chemistry with Jason Chimera from last season. Chimera picked up two assists in Sunday’s win. “I think it’s just being confident and knowing people have your back," Ward said.
Tattoo you: John Erskine’s second-period goal was his first since April 5, 2011, at Toronto. The Capitals are now 9-0-0 when Erskine scores a goal. He skated 20:56 of ice time. “A lot of people don’t give him credit but he’s got one of the hardest shots,” Ward said. “He’s a big guy and you don’t want to be blocking shots from a guy with that many tattoos.”
Ribby update: Through five games Mike Ribeiro leads the Caps with five assists and six points. Ribeiro's two sons joined him in the locker room after the game wearing Caps jerseys that read "Lil Ribs."
Iron lungs: Mike Geeen led the Caps in ice time [27:58] for the fifth consecutive game this season.
New PP units: The caps' first power-play unit had a new wrinkle, with Ribeiro stationing himself on the side of the net with Nicklas Backstrom on the half wall, Troy Brouwer in front, Mike Green on the right point and Alex Ovechkin in the left circle. The second unit had Wojtek Wolski at the side of the net, Mathieu Perreault on the right half wall, Joel Ward in front, John Carlson on the right points and Tomas Kundratek on the left point.