Washington Capitals

Video: Nash takes NHL goalscoring lead with 32nd of season


During the 2003-04 campaign, Rick Nash won his first and only Rocket Richard award as the league’s top sniper, finishing with 41 goals to share the honors with Ilya Kovalchuk and Jarome Iginla.

More than 10 years later, Nash is looking for Rocket No. 2.

Nash scored his league-leading 32nd goal of the season to open Rivalry Night against the Bruins on Wednesday, potting on the backhand after assists from Martin St. Louis and Chris Kreider:

The goal moved Nash one ahead of Washington captain Alex Ovechkin and into sole possession of top spot in the league. New York’s prized sniper is now on pace for 53 goals this season, which would be a career-high and smash his old personal best, set in ’03-04.

No extension talks between Caps and Ward, says agent

Veteran winger Joel Ward, set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, hasn’t had any talks with Washington about a new contract — not that it’s a major concern to Ward’s agent, Peter Cooney.

“I don’t read anything into it,” Cooney told CSN Washington.  “I’m not worried, either. There is a lot of season left and a lot of time left before July 1.”

Ward, 34, is coming off a banner 2013-14 campaign in which he scored a career-high 24 goals and 49 points. Though his production has been a bit slower this season — he’s on pace for 18 and 33 — there still figures to be a market for a guy in the last of a four-year, $12 million deal.

The former Wild and Predator has been through unrestricted free agency before, and it’ll be curious to see how Washington approaches him. Caps GM Brian MacLellan has plenty of players to deal with this summer — UFA d-man Mike Green, starting goalie Braden Holtby, another veteran winger in Eric Fehr and a pair of young talents in Marcus Johansson and Evgeni Kuznetsov.

For teams looking to add veteran experience, Ward will be intriguing. Though he turns 35 next season, he has less than 500 games on his odometer after breaking into the NHL late (as a 26-year-old in Minnesota). Ward’s also proven to be a solid playoff performer; he has 26 points in 39 career postseason games and scored one of the more memorable goals in Caps history during the ’12 playoffs, a Game 7 OT winner against Boston in the opening round:

Holland: We don’t need a right-shot defenseman for the power play anymore


Ken Holland is right — there has been “a lot of talk about” the Red Wings “looking for a right-shot defenseman.”

For example, yesterday on PHT, when we listed three candidates — Mike Green, Jeff Petry, and Cody Franson — that could feasibly interest Holland.

Tyler Myers is another right-shot d-man that’s come up in Wings-related rumors.

But in a radio interview today on TSN 1040 (per Nichols on Hockey), Holland clarified that the Wings’ needs have changed since the summer when they were looking for a right shot to help the power play.

“As we speak today, I think we’re No. 1 in the league on the power play,” said Holland. “Mike Babcock puts out four forwards on each unit. Danny DeKeyser, a defenseman, on one unit. [Niklas] Kronwall on another unit.”

Which is to say, giving up assets to bring in a power-play expert like Green may not be something the Wings are dying to do.

That being said, if he can, Holland would still like to add a right-shot defenseman prior to the March 2 deadline.

It just has to be the “right right-shot defenseman.”

Whoever that may be.

Get your game notes: Bruins at Rangers


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Boston Bruins at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:


• Bruins catching fire: In the 10 games since Jan. 7, Boston has posted an 8-1-1 record.

• This has been a significant turnaround for the B’s, who were criticized publicly by team CEO Charlie Jacobs. On Jan. 6, he called the season “disappointing” and the team’s performance “unacceptable.”

• Before this stretch began, Boston was 5th in the Atlantic and 1 point outside the playoff picture. Now, the B’s are 4th in the Atlantic, in the 2nd Wild Card spot, and 7 points clear of 9th-place Florida in the East.

• Last game (Jan. 31): BOS def. LA 3-1. Tuukka Rask stopped 30 of 31 shots and Brad Marchand scored twice to help defeat the defending champion Kings.

• New York back on track: The Rangers came out of the All-Star Break with a pair of losses (at NYI, vs. MTL), but now have wins in back-to-back games after beating CAR and FLA (outscored them 10-4).

• The Rangers lead the NHL in wins since December 8, going 18-5-0 in that timeframe.

• Last game (Feb. 2): NYR def. FLA 6-3. 11 Rangers registered points, including Rick Nash who scored twice to tie Alex Ovechkin for the league-lead in goals at 31. NYR outscored FLA 3-0 in the 3rd period.

• This game tonight concludes a 4-game home stand for NYR (currently 2-1-0).


• Patrice Bergeron leads the team in scoring (33 points), but has only 2 points (both goals) in his past 8 games.

• Brad Marchand had a pair of goals vs. LA, and now has 4 goals in his last 5 games.

• Loui Eriksson (neck) left the game vs. LA after taking a hit into the glass from Robyn Regehr. Eriksson, who had 2 concussions last season, is expected to return vs. NYR according to coach Claude Julien:

“Loui is doing okay. He’s stiff from that neck thing, but he’s expected to play the next game. It wasn’t as severe as it could have been.” – Julien on Monday

• Milan Lucic was held without a point vs. LA, but has 10 points (4G-6A) in his last 10 games.

• Torey Krug enters with an active 3-game point streak (2G-1A). He also has 10 points (2G-8A) in his last 10 games.

• Krug posted 40 points (14G-26A) during a strong rookie season last year, and he is improving slightly on that output this season with 26 points (10G-16A) in 46 GP.

• Tuukka Rask has started 9 of the Bruins’ 10 games during this 8-1-1 stretch, and after stopping 30 of 31 shots vs. the Kings on Saturday, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is playing better than at the start of the season.

• In the 14 games before Rask’s current hot streak, he had only 1 game in which he allowed 1 or fewer goals. He has allowed 1 or fewer goals in 4 of the 9 games since.


• Rick Nash scored twice on Monday vs. FLA – once shorthanded and once into an empty net – to tie Alex Ovechkin (WSH) for the NHL goal-scoring lead at 31.

• Nash reached the 30-goal plateau for the 8th time in his career (1st w/ NYR – 3rd season w/ NYR).

• This is the 12th season since Nash entered the league in 2002-03 as a rookie. In that timeframe, only Ovechkin (10), Jarome Iginla (10), and Ilya Kovalchuk (9) have more 30-goal seasons than Nash.

“It’s a nice accomplishment [to score 30 goals]. It just shows how good my linemates are and how good the team is doing. Personal success always comes after team success.” – Nash after the game vs. FLA

• The last Ranger to lead the NHL in goals in a season was Lynn Patrick in 1941-42.

• NYR’s franchise record for goals in a season is 54 (J. Jagr in 2005-06). Nash is on pace for 53.

• His career high is 41 goals, set in 2003-04 (2nd NHL season; w/ CBJ).

• Carl Hagelin is providing the Rangers with solid secondary scoring of late. He has assists in consecutive games, and 5 points overall in his last 5 games (2G-3A).

• Dan Boyle has goals in consecutive games, including the game-winner Monday vs. FLA. He would tie his career-best (done 3 times) with a 3-game goal streak if he scores vs. BOS.

• Boyle had 9 points (4 goals) in his first 30 games this season.

Video: Mike Green sends Kyle Clifford into Caps’ bench


If you needed to summarize the Washington Capitals’ 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings, you could throw out various stats or just point to the score.

Then again, you could also just say the game was a lot like defenseman Mike Green’s check on Kyle Clifford, which sent the big forward crashing into John Carlson’s lap on the Caps’ bench:

Green collected his 27th assist (and 32nd point) of the 2014-15 season and was credited with three hits last night. One obviously stood out the most.