Coming Off Of His Game Winner The Capitals Need More From T.J. Oshie

T.J. Oshie, Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
T.J. Oshie, Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

T.J. Oshie scored a massive goal in the Washington Capitals opening game of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. After having a mostly quiet night in game 1 vs the Panthers, late in the third period Oshie found himself streaking to the net almost untouched. Nicklas Backstrom did his Backstrom thing, he laid out a terrific pass and all Oshie had to do was tip it past Sergei Bobrosky.

That play and goal proved to be the good ole’ GWG and the Capitals took game 1 in a somewhat surprising result. Now as we get ready for Game 2 on Thursday evening all the pressure is on the Florida Panthers, if it wasn’t already.

It was a potentially a massive goal in this series, and I think it was a very big goal for T.J. Oshie.

Oshie is coming off a very challenging season. Production wise it was one of his worst, if not his very worst season since becoming a Capital back in 2015. The now 35-year-old winger played in 44 games this season. In those games he scored 11 goals and put up 25 points.

If Oshie had played a full 82 game season he was on pace for about 45 or 46 points, somewhere around there. That would have been his worst season in terms of points.

Oshie’s .56 points per game was the lowest of his Capitals tenure so far. The next lowest was .63 which he did twice, the first happening in his first season in D.C., the other his third season. That .56 was also quite a drop from last season where he scored 43 points in 53 games, or .81 points per game.

Sometimes you can “blame” your teammates for your production falling a little bit. That is just the way it goes in sports. Sometimes in hockey guys will have bad seasons. They will have trouble finishing plays that you set up and if you play with the same guys for a lot of the season that will mean your points will suffer.

For Oshie that wasn’t really the case. He had troubling finishing as well. This season he scored 11 goals in 44 games. That gives him .25 goals a game. That was way below where he usually is. His previous Capitals low was .24, that came back in 2017-18. His low after that was .32 which was his first season in Washington.

His shooting percentage wasn’t terrible. This year he shot 14.3%. That’s a decent number, but again, it was one of his lowest as a member of this team. His lowest was 15-16 where he shot 14.05%, then it was 14.17 in 17-18. His other shooting percentages were 23.08, 17.48, 19.5, and 20.8. While his shooting percentage this season wasn’t bad, you can see how behind he was compared to his good seasons.

It’s clear Oshie had a down year. There could be a good reason for that too, that being injuries. If you follow this team you’ll know that Oshie frequently is fighting some kind of injury or knock. He will miss a game or two here and there thanks to something bothering him throughout the season.

This season Oshie fought that more than he usually does. Coming into this season he had missed 40 games in six seasons. This season he missed 38 games. He kind of spread his missed time out as well. He would play some games then miss a bunch, come back for a couple then miss a bunch more.

Oshie played in just one game in November, He played two in January and then only three in February.

I cannot imagine how hard it is to find a rhythm and find consistency when you are missing as much time as he did and like he did. If you get a major injury and miss 38 games in a row that is one thing. But to miss that much time but spread it out throughout the season has to be annoying and probably infuriating.

It is pretty understandable why Oshie had a down season. The hockey world on the other hand does not care. Games will be played with or without him and they will be played whether he is healthy or not.

None of this really changes one fact. The Capitals need Oshie. They need him to play well and need him to contribute.

For the majority of Game 1 I personally did not even notice that 77 was on the ice or in the lineup. He was very invisible. In my opinion the Capitals will not win a lot of games when he and his line are that quiet. They came alive in the third period, Oshie set up two chances early in that third period and then of course scored the winner late. Not a coincidence that line started to play well and they come from behind and win.

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Game 1 was a heck of a result for T.J. Oshie and the Capitals. The team will need more production from Oshie if they plan on making a run in these playoffs. If he carries his down season into the playoffs, this could be a shorter playoffs than anyone would like.