December 11, 2018

Washington Capitals Game 35 Recap: Caps keep rolling with shutout of Sabres

(Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Whatever the reason for this recent dominance by the Washington Capitals, they have a number of key players to thank.

For starters, goalie Braden Holtby is playing like the top netminder in the world, with another shutout helping the Capitals to a 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres on the road Monday, for their eighth win in a row. Of his 31 saves on the night, he had one that immediately launched itself to the top of his highlight reel.

Or Jay Beagle, who scored the team’s second goal, his career-high sixth of the season. Beagle was parked at the top of the crease unchecked and swept home a rebound of a long Tom Wilson shot off the end boards. Washington is 22-0-5 all-time when Beagle scores.

Of course, the Caps still employ the world’s greatest goal scorer, and he did it again in this one. Alex Ovechkin’s 18th goal of the year opened the scoring. T.J. Oshie kept a puck along the boards in the offensive zone and pushed it ahead to Nick Backstrom in the corner, who found Ovechkin with the eyes in the back of his head alone in the slot. Seriously, watch this pass.

All told, it was just the latest in a string of performances that have lifted the team to an NHL-best 27-6-2 record, good for a pace of 131 points. The Caps hold a 12-point lead over the Rangers for the Metropolitan Division lead with two games in hand, as well.

The only down note to the very physical game was that Michael Latta left the game with an injured arm after getting in a fight with Nicolas Deslauriers, who had drawn blood on Capitals forward Justin Williams with a questionable, and unpenalized hit, not long before that.

Caps notes

  • Washington is 10-1-1 in December with a return game at Verizon Center against Buffalo on Wednesday and a game Thursday at the Carolina Hurricanes yet to come.
  • Both Michael Latta and John Carlson have been labeled day-to-day with what have been labeled upper and lower-body injuries, respectively. Latta’s injury is to his arm, according to head coach Barry Trotz, and doesn’t know the extent of it. Carlson had appeared in 412 straight games for the Capitals before suffering a hip injury against Montreal on Saturday, and was just 10 games away from tying the franchise record for consecutive games played, set by Bobby Carpenter in the 1980s. Trotz says that Carlson is close to playing again.
  • Washington scratched D John Carlson (lower-body injury), ending his streak of 412 games played. Carlson’s streak was the second-longest in team history, trailing Bob Carpenter (422) and just ahead of teammate Karl Azner (411).
About Eric Hobeck

Eric Hobeck is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Capitals. Eric contributes to high school sports coverage at InsideNova.com. He served as sports editor of The Rotunda at Longwood University for two years, where he was also the men’s basketball beat writer. He hosted a campus radio show for three years and called basketball and baseball games for the station’s award-winning sports team. You can follow Eric on Twitter @eric_hobeck.

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