The Washington Capitals have recalled the American Hockey League’s (AHL) leading scorer, forward Keith Aucoin from the Hershey Bears, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
Aucoin, 30, is an eighth-year pro who stands 5’9”, 180 pounds. The Waltham, Mass., native has played in three games for the Capitals this season, making his Washington debut on Dec. 4 against the New York Islanders. He has played in 56 career NHL games, recording five goals and 10 assists.
The undrafted Aucoin leads the AHL in points (86) and assists (64) through 63 games and is third in the league with a +25 rating. Aucoin was also named the AHL’s player of the month for October. He has 519 career AHL points in 498 games.
Aucoin, No. 20 with Washington, joined the Capitals organization as a free agent on July 3, 2008, after spending three years in the Carolina organization.
Comment: Aucoin has been recalled because Sergei Fedorov is still battling an illness and is questionable, at best, for tonight based on Tarik El-Bashir’s post in his Capitals Insider blog (he also reports that Donald Brashear is still out with a knee injury).
As for tonight’s game against Carolina in DC, the Caps are 12 points up on the Hurricanes and have a game in hand but just last Tuesday, March 3rd the Canes crushed the Caps, 5-2, at the Verizon Center. Carolina is fighting for their playoff lives so the Caps will get their best effort tonight despite this being their 3rd game in four days. I watched Carolina play the Blackhawks on Wednesday night in Chicago (via the NHL Centre Ice Package), a game they lost in a shootout, but they played well and forced OT with a goal with just 26 seconds remaining. The next night they lost to Dallas in Texas, 3-2, to a Stars team that also desperately needed a win. Forward Eric Staal has been hot lately (he had 6 points in a win over Tampa last weekend), Rod Brind’Amour seems to be playing his best hockey of the season, and goalie Cam Ward has been outstanding over the last three weeks. The Caps, who are 0-3-1 in their last four home games, better be ready to play tonight or this game could resemble the March 3rd tilt.
Here are some interesting notes and tidbits going into tonight’s game: Each of the last four Washington wins have been by one goal. The Capitals had started the season 3-3-3 in one-goal games and are now 17-8-5. The season series between the Caps and Canes is tied at two, with Carolina winning the last two contests. Washington has four players with at least eight power-play goals (Atlanta, Detroit and San Jose can say the same) and five players with at least seven power-play goals (only Detroit can say the same). Alex Ovechkin has a point in each of his last nine games (six goals, six assists in that time), putting him one game shy of his third 10-game point streak of the season. Ovechkin is nearing his third 50-goal season and a career-high in shots on goal. If Ovechkin hits 50 goals, he would become the first Capital to record three 50-goal seasons and only the second active player with three (Teemu Selanne). Ovechkin is also three points shy of his fourth straight 90-point season.