Second thoughts: Ward yielding big dividends

Second thoughts: Ward yielding big dividends
November 13, 2013, 9:00 am
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Caps resilient in victory over Blue Jackets

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Caps reflect on Tuesday night’s 4-3 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets and look ahead to Friday night’s 7:30 p.m. visit to Detroit.

Wardo: When the Capitals gave Joel Ward a four-year, $12 million contract in the summer of 2011, they were hoping he’d give them a physical identity on the third line while chipping in 15-20 goals. “When he came here, obviously he had a great playoff in Nashville,” Caps coach Adam Oates said. “When we talked, [I said] I expect him to play now like he does in the playoffs. Every night it’s a grind. We need these points.” Ward netted his ninth goal of the season Tuesday, one more than he had in 39 games last season and three more than he had in 73 games with the Capitals under Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter the year before. He’s on pace for 39 goals this season, well above his career-high of 17 set in his rookie season of 2008-09. One reason for the increased offense is the shorter stick Ward is using at the advice of Oates. “It’s a similar tool, I just shortened it up a little bit,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting open and trying to put it away as best you can, especially when you’re tight in front of the net.”

Ovi-time: Alex Ovechkin’s overtime goal was his franchise-leading 13th in his career. It was also his second game-winning goal of the season and 61st game-winning goal of his career. Ovechkin has earned six points in his last five games.

Dirt Erat: Martin Erat’s assist on John Carlson’s goal was his 57th point against Columbus, his most against any NHL team. In 58 regular-season games against Columbus, Erat has scored 16 goals and earned 41 assists.

Carly time: John Carlson’s one-goal, one-assist night gave him five points in his last six games [4 goals, 1 assist].

Grabo: Mikhail Grabovski’s third-period goal was the 100th of his NHL career. He has 11 points [3 goals, 8 assists] in his last 11 games.

MoJo: With his assist on Ovechkin’s overtime goal, Marcus Johansson now has six points [2 goals, 4 assists] in his last five games.

Holt-beast: Braden Holtby is now 8-3-0 in his last 11 starts.

Etcetera: The Caps have won five straight at Verizon Center, which has been sold out for 191 straight games. The Caps are 5-1 in overtime games this season. The Capitals have outscored opponents 31-16 in the second period this season.