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#CapsKings Notebook: Number Nine, Number Nine

Caps keep cooking at home, Ovechkin honored, Grubauer, Oshie and Connolly reach single-season milestones.

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / Monumental Sports Network

Washington rolled to its ninth straight win on Verizon Center ice on Sunday, taking down the Los Angeles Kings by a 5-0 count to halt the Kings' season-long five-game winning streak. 

As they've done frequently at home of late, the Caps scored early and often and they were stingy with the goals against. Washington put a crooked number on the scoreboard in each of the first two periods, and Philipp Grubauer continued to frustrate the Kings. After stopping 39 of 40 shots in a 3-1 Caps win over L.A. last Feb. 16, Grubauer stymied the Kings on 38 shots to earn his 10th win and third shutout of the season, both career bests. 

The home winning streak is the Caps' longest since they won a dozen straight games at Verizon Center last season. The franchise record for consecutive home wins is 13, set in 2009-10.

Washington has outscored the opposition by a combined 45-12 during the life of its nine-game run, and four of those victories have come via the shutout route. 
Video: Caps pregame ceremony for Ovechkin's 1,000 NHL points
Grand Day -
 Caps captain Alex Ovechkin was feted before Sunday's game, as the team and the league combined to commemorate his 1,000th career NHL point, a milestone he reached here last month in a game against Pittsburgh. 

With parents Mikhail and Tatyana, wife Nastya, Caps majority owner Ted Leonsis, team president Dick Patrick and NHL senior VP Jim Gregory joining him on the ice, the Caps presented Ovechkin with a golden stick engraved with his milestone achievements and the league gave him a Tiffany crystal. 

Double Sawbuck - Caps winger T.J. Oshie netted his 20th goal of the season on Sunday, marking the third 20-goal season of his NHL career and his second in as many seasons with the Capitals.
Video: LAK@WSH: Oshie roofs feed and pops water bottle off
Oshie scored a goal-scorer's goal late in the second period, taking a feed from Nicklas Backstrom and sending a one-timer high to the short side, and nestling it into a teacup-sized space in the top right corner of the cage. The puck not only made the water bottle jump, it knocked the cap off the bottle, providing an instant resurfacing for a small area of ice behind the Los Angeles net.

Oshie scored a career-high 26 goals for the Capitals last season. He notched his 20th goal of last season against the Kings as well, doing so in Los Angeles in his and the team's 67th game of the season on March 9 at Staples Center. Oshie has missed 10 games thus far this season; he netted his 20th goal in just his 43rd game of the 2016-17 season. 
Video: LAK@WSH: Connolly, Caps make Kings pay for turnover
10 For 10 - Caps winger Brett Connolly sports the No. 10 on the back of his sweater, and No. 10 netted his 10th goal of the season early in the second period of Sunday's game. 

After scoring nine goals in 71 games with the Boston Bruins last season, Connolly notched his 10th goal of 2016-17 in his 38th game of the season. Connolly's NHL career high is the dozen goals he scored in 55 games with Tampa Bay and Boston in 2014-15.

Cooking At Home - Grubauer has made five appearances at Verizon Center this season, and he is 5-0 with three shutouts, a 0.64 GAA and a .977 save pct. in those contests. Grubauer has stopped 127 of the 130 shots he has faced on home ice this season. 
Video: Three goalies earn Sunday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout
Three In A Row - Caps winger Tom Wilson set up Connolly's goal, the third straight game in which Wilson has recorded an assist. Wilson now has the first three-game point streak of his NHL career.

Eight Straight - Washington has scored five or more goals in each of its last eight home games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that's a Capitals' franchise record and the longest streak by any NHL team since the Pittsburgh Penguins went eight straight home games at the old Igloo with five or more goals from Feb. 29-March 31, 1992.

Somewhat incredibly, six of those games in which the Caps have scored five or more have come in games in which the Capitals have registered fewer than 30 shots on goal. Washington scored five times on just 20 shots on net in Sunday's win over Los Angeles. 

Needless to say, that shooting percentage won't be easy to sustain. 
Video: LAK@WSH: Connolly finds Eller to open the scoring
Breaking The Seal - Sunday's game marked the 38th time this season that the Capitals have scored the game's first goal, matching their total from all of last season. 

The '15-16 Caps had the league's best record when scoring first (34-2-2) and the '16-17 Capitals can make that same claim (30-4-4). 

Chasing Themselves - The Capitals have accrued 78 standings points through 53 games this season, the second most in NHL history at the 53-game mark. Only the 2015-16 Capitals (40-9-4, 84 points) had more standings points through the first 53 games of the campaign. 

How Sweep It Is - With Sunday's win over the Kings, the Caps have swept a set of games on back-to-back dates for the third time in 10 sets this season. Washington will play six more sets of back-to-backs, starting with a set of road back-to-backs at Detroit and at the New York Rangers later this month, immediately coming out of the Capitals' bye week. 

Down On The Farm - The AHL Hershey Bears earned their fourth consecutive win on Sunday afternoon at Giant Center, taking a 3-2 decision from the St. John's Ice Caps. 

Hershey scored twice in short succession early in the first to jump out to a two-goal lead over the visitors. With goaltender Vitek Vanecek earning the single assist for his first career AHL point, Chandler Stephenson scored the game's first goal for Hershey at 4:55 of the first period. 

Just 72 seconds later, Bears blueliner Christian Djoos netted his sixth of the season with help from Christian Thomas and Ryan Bourque.

After the Ice Caps cut into the Hershey lead with a second period goal, Chris Bourque scored what would prove to be the game-winning tally at 3:41 of the third period. Zach Sanford and Hubert Labrie assisted on Bourque's 14th goal of the season. 

Vanecek stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced to improve to 12-8-6 on the season. Hershey is now idle until Friday when it travels to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to face the Baby Penguins. 

By The Numbers - Matt Niskanen paced the Capitals with 23:40 in ice time and five hits … Ovechkin led the Caps with four shots on net and six shot attempts … John Carlson led the Capitals with seven blocked shots, and 13 Caps skaters blocked at least one Kings shot on the afternoon as Washington laid out to block a total of 29 Los Angeles shots, a single-game high for the Capitals this season … the Capitals have won seven straight games against Western Conference opponents and are 12-2-0 against Western clubs this season.

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