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Washington Capitals Extended Weekly Update: April 14 to April 22

Washington Capitals weekly update

It’s time for another Washington Capitals weekly update. The Washington Capitals (40-31-11, 91 PTS) will keep playing for at least one more week. Despite a -37 goal differential, they made the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs by claiming the final Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference. They will face the New York Rangers (55-23-4, 114 PTS), a team which clinched the playoffs on March 26th and won the Presidents’ Trophy for the NHL’s best regular season record. The Rangers won the first game of the series, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon. Here is the Washington Capitals weekly update for April 14th to 22nd.

Washington Capitals Weekly Update Extended: April 14-22

On-Ice Results

The Capitals had two games during the week of April 14-20. Both were impactful for the Capitals to qualify for the playoffs. Washington played a home-and-away, back-to-back set of games, and won both. First Washington shut out the Boston Bruins for the second time this year. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 16 saves for his NHL-leading sixth shutout of the season. John Carlson scored the game-winning goal in the first period. Washington held the 1-0 lead for the rest of the game with Nic Dowd adding an empty-net goal at the end. Washington then travelled to take on the Philadelphia Flyers to end the season for both teams. Deflection goals by Alex Ovechkin and Erik Johnson had the score tied at one in the final five minutes. The Flyers opted for an extra skater early and T.J. Oshie scored the winning goal into an empty net with three minutes left to play.

After a four-day break without a game, Washington travelled to New York City to play the first two games of its first-round matchup with the Rangers. The Capitals made it out of the first period 0-0, but allowed three goals in just over two and a half minutes in the second period. Washington wasn’t shut out thanks to Martin Fehervary’s first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal, but the Rangers took the series lead with a 4-1 win.

Injury Updates

Neither Rasmus Sandin nor Nick Jensen has played since they were injured at the beginning and end of last week, respectively. They both practiced in non-contact jerseys as well as skating individually during the week. Despite being both in non-contact jerseys, they are not officially ruled out for the first game of the series as of Saturday afternoon. Sandin and Jensen travelled with the team for the first two games in Madison Square Garden. The two defenders had the second and third-most average time on ice for the Capitals in the regular season.

One of the Capitals’ young 2023 AHL Champion forwards left the game against Boston early but returned to play in Philadelphia. Winger Beck Malenstyn played less than 10 minutes in 12 shifts versus the Bruins. He did not skate during the third period with an upper-body injury. He was a game-time decision on Tuesday; he went on to take 27 shifts against the Flyers, a personal high for him in nearly a month.

Sunday in New York, Vincent Iorio suffered an upper-body injury during the second period. He did not return to the game and his status is day to day according to head coach Spencer Carbery. Iorio did not skate Monday.

What They’re Up Against

The Capitals are facing the President’s trophy winners as the lowest seed in the Eastern Conference. The New York Rangers earned a team-record 114 points to lead the NHL by one point at the end of the regular season. Head-to-head, the teams came out even at 2-2 with nine goals scored apiece. The Rangers came in the top 10 in the NHL for power-play rate, penalty kill rate, faceoff wins, goals-for, and goals-against. Washington was 16th or worse in the league in those categories. 

Great Scoring

Artemi Panarin led New York’s offence with 120 points and 49 goals, both in the top-5 of regular season scorers. Four other skaters recorded at least 70 points for the Rangers. Chris Kreider was second on the team with 39 goals and totaled 75 points. Vincent Trochek slightly passed Kreider in overall points with 25 goals and 52 assists to reach 77 points. Mika Zibanejad also recorded more than 70 points and 25 goals. Defender Adam Fox was second in New York assists (56) and tied for sixth in the league in points for defencemen with 73. The first pick of the 2020 Draft, Alexis Lafrenière, set career highs in all offensive categories with 28 goals and 29 assists for 57 points in 82 games.

Strong Goalkeeping

In goal, Igor Shesterkin made the top five in the NHL for wins (36) and top 10 in save percentage (.913–the lowest for his career). He played in three of four games (2-1) against the Capitals and saved 75 shots. His 2.00 GAA against the Capitals is more than half a goal lower than his overall 2.58 GAA. Shesterkin won the Vezina trophy in 2021-22. His backup is Jonathan Quick, one of the top three active goalkeepers in career games played and wins in the regular season. Quick’s 2.47 career GAA is the best among active goalkeepers. In 27 appearances this season he had a 2.62 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Main photo by: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

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