On Saturday morning, Washington Capitals Coach Barry Trotz laid out the percentages in a team meeting, outlining how much better the team’s chances of winning were when it scored first. Defenseman John Carlson couldn’t remember the last time the Capitals scored the first goal — a sign that it had been too long. A few hours later after hearing about the importance of getting the first goal, the Capitals found the net first. And they continued to pour it on, toppling the Colorado Avalanche, 7-3, after a 4-0 first period. The win snapped a nine-game streak of allowing opponents to score first. “That was a focus: ‘Let’s get a lead,’ ” Trotz said. “We talked about there’s like a 39 percent chance of winning a hockey game when you give up the first goal. . . . If you score first in this league, you’re around 89 percent or 88 percent winning. I like 89 more.” Strange math aside, the win marked the first time the Capitals (13-5-1) scored four goals in the first period since March 7, 2013, against Florida. Though Washington hadn’t taken a lead first since Oct. 30 against Columbus, the Capitals improved to 7-1 when scoring first and 5-0 when leading after the first period. The goals came early, and they came from virtually everywhere. A whopping 14 Washington players had at least one point, and four goals came from defensemen, the first time that has happened since 1992. Seven players scored. “We did a lot of good things,” Carlson said. “We wanted to get that first goal, which was something we’d been talking about. We did that and more. . . . I know it’s been a little while for sure.” Earlier in the week, Trotz jokingly suggested that the only way to guarantee Washington score first would be to sneak a puck into the goal before any players stepped onto the ice. He didn’t need to resort to such tricks against Colorado, as Washington’s offense was jump-started almost immediately when the Capitals’ potent power play got an opportunity against the Avalanche penalty kill, second worst in the league when on the road, 65 seconds into the game.
Capitals start fast and don’t let up in a 7-3 rout of Avalanche
Washington Post | Nov 22