Hard work, not flashy stats, is why the Capitals are unbeaten in regulation when center Boyd Gordon gets a sweater.
Despite having no goals and only three assists in 12 games, it is certainly not for a lack of opportunities. When Gordon is on the ice during even strength, the team is generating more scoring chances per 15 minutes than any other Caps pivot aside from Nicklas Backstrom, despite the fact that Gordon is starting in the offensive zone less than any other skater.
The scoring chances as a whole also tilt in the Caps' favor, where six out of every 10 are directed toward the opposition's net. When Gordon is off the ice, it is less than half.
Gordon is also displaying two-way talent. In his 119 minutes of even-strength time, he has been on the ice for only 4 goals against, second best among all of Washington's forwards playing more than 10 games. Most shots against (including those that are blocked or miss the net completely) are being kept to the outside, with fewer than 20 percent coming from dangerous scoring areas - the area within the dots to the top of the circles, including the slot. Almost a third of shots directed to one of the Caps' young goalies are from the danger zone when he is off the ice.
Gordon also bolsters a penalty kill that has struggled recently, giving up less than one scoring chance per two minutes of ice time - among the team's best.
The challenge for Gordon is to just stay healthy. In each of the last four years, he has played fewer games than the year before. If he can find a way to keep his body from betraying him, Coach Bruce Boudreau will have to find a way to keep him in the lineup.