As reliable stars like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom surge toward yet another 50-goal and 50-assist season, respectively, and ascending talents like Andre Burakovsky and Brett Connolly finish strong, another guy has been quietly getting the job done of late.
Travis Boyd hasn't triggered the siren since early January, but he's gaining possession of the puck and finding the open man. During the Capitals six-game win streak, Boyd's recorded four assists and is currently on a three game assist streak.
"I've been lucky enough to be on the good side of some plays, and obviously I get to play with a lot of good players, too," Boyd said. "Every time I get a chance to go out there, I just try to make something happen."
"I'm happy to play with Travis - he's making it easy for me," said Andre Burakovsky, who's on a three-game goal streak with six points (4g, 2a) in the last seven games. "I think he's really good at protecting the puck in the corners and finding passes and open lanes. Definitely a guy who I think will continue to put up good numbers."
Boyd's been efficient in his limited time on the ice this season. He's tied with Winnipeg's Jack Roslovic for the most points in the NHL (19) among players who have skated fewer than 11 minutes per game. What's more, Roslovic has played in 66 games with 45:39 of power-play time compared with Boyd's 42 appearances with just 12:39 minutes on the man-advantage.
"He's been able to find ways to contribute offensively and provide a spark to the fourth line," coach Todd Reirden said. "He's not getting power play time right now, so it's difficult to put numbers up, but he's been doing it on five-on-five."
Success was far from guaranteed for Boyd this summer. After a strong camp and preseason, the former Hershey star was forced to leave an exhibition game in St. Louis when he injured his foot from blocking a shot. But Boyd never lost his focus, or his coaches' trust, battling right back into form by the time he returned to the ice.
He notched two assists in his 2018-19 debut on Nov. 5, a 4-2 win over Edmonton, previewing what was to come in his second year.
"I had only played in nine NHL games, so I was already anticipating some growing pains, just with moving up levels," Boyd said of entering the season. "And then on top of that, having to [rehab], it's always tough. [But] I don't think I ever lost [confidence]. For me it was just about getting used to this level. And everything has seemed to work out well this year."
Boyd said he's learned to take chances with the puck, less afraid of committing a turnover, which has led to more chances. With 19 points (4g, 15a) in 42 games, he's averaging nearly a point every other game, helping the scoring depth that proved so crucial for the Capitals during the 2018 Stanley Cup run. Come April, Boyd's set to be a key contributor this time around.
"He's been fun to watch this year," Reirden said. "His overall commitment - in practice, while rehabbing, and in games - speaks highly of where he's headed in this game."