It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win is a win.
And Thursday night’s 1-0 triumph over the Devils was record-breaking.
The Caps have now won 14 straight games at Verizon Center, establishing a new franchise mark in that category. (Washington won 13 in a row on F Street from January-March of the 2009-10 season.)
Here are some statistical highlights from the Caps’ current run in Chinatown:
- Their last defeat on home ice was to the Devils, 2-1 in the shootout, way back on Dec. 29—63 days ago.
- Since that game, Alex Ovechkin and Co. have outscored opponents 65-20 at home.
- All but one of the wins came in regulation. (They beat the Maple Leafs in overtime on Jan. 3.)
- Six of the wins have come via shutout. (Columbus, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Carolina and New Jersey.)
- The Caps now own more home wins—26—than anyone else. Pittsburgh is second with 25.
- Braden Holtby has won 11 of the games, while Philipp Grubauer has chipped in with three wins.
Coach Barry Trotz pointed to a few factors for his team’s dominance at home.
“We haven’t let teams off the hook in this building,” Trotz said. “We haven’t let teams dictate who’s in charge of this building. We’ve done a really good job of that. We have last [line] change, and that’s always very helpful. And when we have all of our lines, we can make it hard for other teams to figure out which way we want to go on matchups—I can move it around a little bit. That really helps.”
“And,” Trotz added, “we have a great crowd.”
Just as he said that, a fan who was watching the press conference nearby yelled, “Yeah!”
To which Trotz responded, “Yes you are.”
“You get to sleep in your own beds,” Trotz continued. “You’re comfortable with the situation. All that being said, we want to win in front of our home fans.”
A win is indeed a win, but this was an unsightly one. The Devils registered a season-low 15 shots on goal. It was also the fewest shots for a Capitals’ opponent this season.
Through 40 minutes, in fact, the visitors had just put just nine pucks on Holtby, who posted his NHL-leading eighth shutout of the season.
“It was more of a game that everyone thinks is out of the NHL,” Holtby cracked. “It was like going back in time and playing the old Devils. I don’t think we created too many hockey fans tonight.”
Trotz agreed that the game was not aesthetically pleasing but he was happy that his team adapted to the grinding style of play and managed to get both standings points.
“We talked about when you play the Devils, especially when they go on the road, they are probably stingier, a little more patient,” he said. “They work very, very hard. They’ve got a lot of structure. You have to sometimes play the game that is presented.”
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