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Capitals’ Special Teams Are Special
The Caps extended their win streak to three games with a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Brooks Laich showed the importance of special teams for the second game in a row. He notched his second game-winner in as many games, shorthanded this time.
Mathieu Perreault notched a go-ahead goal in the opening minute of the third period. Aside from Marcus Johansson who won the only faceoff he took, Perreault was the only Caps player with a faceoff percentage above 50. He went 5-for-6 earning him an 83 percent success rate.
With an assist on Perreault’s goal, Dennis Wideman took his assist streak to four games. He now has four assists in as many games.
Michal Neuvirth stopped 23 shots for his third shutout of the season. The other two came against Montreal on Jan. 18 where he stopped 31 shots, and Dec. 15 against Winnipeg where he stopped 26 shots.
For the second straight game, Mike Knuble was back in the lineup. The 39-year-old veteran said he was happy to be back.
“It feels good. This time of year you want to be playing and competing in these games,” he said. “They’re important games, so you want to be in them; they’re fun.”
For Knuble, sitting out games isn’t a chance for him to learn, it’s just him sitting out.
“Not at this point in my career. Maybe for some of the younger players, but for me nothing good comes out of it,” he said. “I’m not going to go up there and learn or anything like that. If anything, you’re going to want to get back out there.”
The Caps needed a regulation loss by Florida to move up to first in the Southeast Division. While that didn’t happen, Washington is now four points ahead of Buffalo and Winnipeg in the eighth spot.
Also, for those few David Steckel fans out there, Steckel continued his dynamic ways on the faceoff dot. He went 8-for-10, earning an 80 percent success rate. But in typical Steckel fashion, that’s about all he did.