The good news just keeps coming for the hard-working Washington Capitals after tying a franchise record with ten straight wins. In addition to the tremendous contributions that every player on this team has made towards their red-hot run, the Caps' stars are shining particularly brightly these days. Nicklas Backstrom was named one the NHL's Stars of the Week and Alex Ovechkin earned the number one Star of the Month honor for January.
From the respective press releases:
FIRST STAR -- ALEX OVECHKIN, LW, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Ovechkin led all scorers in January with 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) and posted a +16 rating in 15 games, helping the Capitals go 13-2-0 and finish the month with a franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak. Named team captain Jan. 5, Ovechkin tallied eight multiple-point games thereafter, beginning with three points (one goal, two assists), a +4 rating and 10 shots on goal in a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators Jan. 7. He tallied his first career four-assist game and tied a career high with five points in a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs Jan. 15 and notched three points (two goals, one assist) in a 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Jan. 21. Ovechkin closed the month by scoring the game-winning goal in the third period of a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 31. The reigning Hart and Richard Trophy winner ranks second in the NHL in goals (35), second in points (76), first in shots (248) and first in plus/minus (+35).
THIRD STAR -- NICKLAS BACKSTROM, C, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
Backstrom paced the League's highest-scoring offense with seven points (two goals, five assists) and posted a +6 rating as the Capitals (37-12-6) tied a franchise record by extending their winning streak to 10 games. He notched one assist in victories over the New York Islanders (7-2, Jan. 26) and Anaheim Ducks (5-1, Jan. 27), notched a goal and two assists in a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers Jan. 29 and finished the week with one goal and one assist in a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 31. The 22-year-old center ranks second on the Capitals in scoring and sixth in NHL with 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists). He already has set a single-season career high in goals, eclipsing the 22 from last season.
The Caps look to break a franchise record tonight aiming for win number 11 against the boys from Beantown, the Boston Bruins, who are in dire straights having lost their last seven outings. The Capitals will be accompanied by their dads on this trip and included on the fathers' itinerary is a trip to the Sam Adams brewery so Hockey Mom anticipates that the cheering from their section will be especially raucous this evening! Puck drops at 7 p.m.
David Steckel hands out Capitals gift bags to second graders at Wayside Elementary.
Also earning gold stars (and some yummo burritos from Chipotle, one of HM's faves) last month were some dedicated second grade students from Wayside Elementary School in Potomac, Md. Their exceptionally awesome teacher, Andrea Monica, submitted a complete lesson plan to the Caps@School website. Mrs. Monica’s second-grade class did the Caps hockey-themed, fourth-grade math lesson plan. As the winner of October’s Caps@School contest, her students were treated to a visit from Capitals' player David Steckel and Slapshot, along with a Chipotle Mexican Grill Burrito Party! Steckel answered some questions and played games with the 27 second-grade students before they dined on the Chipotle Mexican Grill burritos (hopefully with extra guacamole). The hour-long party concluded with a classroom photo, autographed player cards by Steckel and a gift bag from the Capitals. See kids, (ahem, Hockey Mom's twins - that would be you) learning can be fun!
And in other random hockey happenings:
The wheeling and dealing continues in the NHL as Calgary's none-too-happy Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust were dealt to the New York Rangers in exchange for Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik. The trade went down after the midnight hour as both Flames players skated for their old team in last night's loss to the Flyers, knowing full well that the trade was coming. Ouch...
- Apparently the Canadian media doesn't hold a soft spot in their hearts for our beloved Capitals, according to former Capital and current Comcast Sportsnet analyst, Alan May. (D.C. Sports Bog)
- And finally, our frenemy Sidney Crosby, now currently sits atop the list of the league's leading goal scorers with 37 on the season after last night's hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres. I'm sure Alex Ovechkin is gunning to oust the Kid from his newly-earned ranking and plans to up the ante when the birds visit Verizon Center this Sunday. HM found it quite amusing that in addition to tossing a wide variety of hats bearing the Penguins logo, Pittsburgh fans also littered the ice with environmentally-friendly black Penguins shopping bags (apparently the free swag for the evening). Now I completely understand your excitement, but it's called a "hat trick" for a reason. Surprised they didn't start tossing the Iron City bottles or small children....