The most impressive line of the Washington Capitals in the 2021 season was the fourth line. After grading Garnet Hathaway it is time to grade the other podcast bro. Nic Dowd had a career year in his third season with the Caps.
In an injury and COVID riddled lineup during several parts of the season, Dowd was the most consistent playing in all 56 games. He scored a career high 11 goals and four assists for 15 points and had a plus/minus of +4.
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Dowd was also spectacular on the face off dot, something the Caps had struggled with. He won 56.3 percent of his draws which is also a career high as well as a team high. In the playoffs nearly all the team was invisible except for the fourth line. Dowd had two goals in that five game series including a game winning overtime goal in Game 1.
In an article by Ian Oland of Russian Machine Never Breaks, Dowd explained the success of the fourth line. This came after morning skate prior to Game 4:
“I think we’ve just been trying to do the same thing we’ve been doing all season. The biggest thing is staying consistent and continuing to build on what we do in the offensive zone. Obviously, we start quite a bit in the defensive zone so it’s important to win those faceoffs. As a line, we’ve done a good job along with the defensemen of getting out and getting down the ice. It’s nothing in particular. We’ve just done a good job of making space for each other and getting the net. We’ve had some fortunate bounces as well.”
That fourth line for much of that series was matched up with Boston’s so called “perfection line” of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. Dowd also played a huge part with the penalty kill as it finished with a success rate of 84 percent in the regular season. Dowd averaged 14:22 of ice time per game.
While Dowd was good offensively and defensively one bad part about his 2021 season was he set a career high in penalty minutes with 31. The fourth line had a Corsi For percentage of 49.89 in the regular season as well as an Expected Goals For percentage of 52.08 percent per Natural Stat Trick.
Grade A: Dowd gets a high grade for his career high season as well as his awesome work in the community with Dowd’s Crowd, giving back to the autism community.