How Often Should Caps Fans Expect a McNugget Minute Goal?

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Posted March 27, 2021

Alex Ovechkin has scored seven goals in the last minute of a period in the last 101 games. (Caps Outsider)

A couple of games ago, we started hearing about the ‘McNugget Minute’ during Caps games. If the Caps score a goal in the last minute of any period, the next day, using the McDonald’s App, you need to spend one dollar to get a free box of six-piece chicken McNuggets (valued at about $3.50). This means the Caps have three chances per game to score a goal in the final minute of the period, perhaps four if they count overtime (UPDATE: They don’t count overtime but this happened only once in the 101 games that we counted).

Obviously, even without McNuggets, scoring in the last minute of the first or second period typically gives the team momentum going into the break, and it’s often used to seal the game – at least for the Caps – when it’s done in the third period.

So, how often should we expect the Caps to score in the last minute of a period?

We looked at the last two seasons of data (excluding playoffs), which comes to 101 games since the beginning of the 2019-20 season. Sorry, I didn’t have time to look at data since 1974 like I usually would, so I settled on this. (See the data at the bottom of this page)

  • The Caps have scored 32 goals in the final minute of a period in the last 101 games.
  • About half of them – 15 – were in an empty net, obviously in the third period.
  • Twice the Capitals had multiple last-minute goals in a game:
    • Nick Backstrom scored in the last minute of the first and second periods on 12-20-2019 against the New Jersey Devils.
    • Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie each scored in the third period on 1-5-2020 against the San Jose Sharks, which sent the game into overtime and the Caps won. Forget the McNuggets, that’s so rare we should be treated to McLobster.
  • At the end of the first period, the Caps scored three times.
  • At the end of the second period, the Caps scored six times.
  • At the end of the third period, against a goaltender, the Caps scored seven goals.
  • Only once did the Caps score in the last minute of overtime, when Alex Ovechkin scored at the 4-minute mark, on the power play, in a 4-3 win against Toronto on 10-29-2019.
  • Ovechkin leads the team with seven goals in the last minute of the period.
  • Backstrom and Tom Wilson have done it five times each.
  • The Caps have done this against the New Jersey Devils four times, more than any other team (but only once this season).
  • The Caps scored four of these last-minute goals on the power play.
  • The Caps are 26-2-4 in games when they score in the last minute.

So, the Caps have treated fans to last-minute goals in about 32% of their games, though if you break it down by period we’re only at about 10%, but I seriously doubt McDonald’s is springing for multiple six-piece nuggets per game.

Prepare to go to McDonald’s soon, folks, because after a couple games of McNuggetless minutes, the Caps are due.

We also would like to fondly remember this:

Date Opponent Score Period Time Scorer Type
2019-10-08 DAL LOT 3-4 3 19:29 Backstrom
2019-10-12 @DAL W 4-1 3 19:03 Ovechkin EN
2019-10-18 NYR W 5-2 3 19:32 Hathaway EN
2019-10-20 @CHI W 5-3 3 19:10 Eller EN
2019-10-25 @VAN WSO 6-5 2 19:59 Kuznetsov
2019-10-29 @TOR WOT 4-3 4 4:00 Ovechkin PP
2019-11-09 VGK W 5-2 3 19:14 Backstrom EN
2019-11-16 @BOS WSO 3-2 3 19:01 Oshie
2019-11-18 ANA W 5-2 2 19:26 Stephenson
2019-11-27 FLA W 4-3 2 19:00 Panik
2019-11-30 @DET W 5-2 3 19:05 Ovechkin EN
2019-12-14 @TBL W 5-2 3 19:21 Wilson EN
2019-12-20 @NJD W 6-3 1 19:35 Backstrom
2019-12-20 @NJD W 6-3 2 19:31 Backstrom
2020-01-05 SJS WOT 5-4 3 19:13 Vrana
2020-01-05 SJS WOT 5-4 3 19:45 Oshie
2020-01-16 NJD W 5-2 1 19:08 Ovechkin
2020-01-18 @NYI W 6-4 3 19:04 Ovechkin EN
2020-01-27 @MON W 4-2 3 19:37 Backstrom EN
2020-01-31 @OTT W 5-3 3 19:45 Ovechkin EN, PP
2020-02-20 MON LOT 3-4 3 19:39 Wilson
2020-02-23 PIT W 5-3 3 19:13 Hagelin EN
2020-03-05 @NYR LOT 5-6 3 19:17 Ovechkin
2021-01-19 @PIT LOT 4-5 1 19:43 Wilson
2021-01-26 NYI W 3-2 3 19:33 Schultz
2021-01-28 NYI W 6-3 3 19:41 Wilson EN, PP
2021-02-07 PHI L 4-7 2 19:41 Wilson EN, PP
2021-02-20 NYR L 1-4 2 19:21 Orlov
2021-02-25 PIT W 5-2 3 19:08 Eller EN
2021-02-27 @NJD W 5-2 3 19:06 Dowd EN
2021-03-07 @PHI W 3-1 2 19:44 Orlov
2021-03-11 @PHI W 5-3 3 19:32 Dowd EN