Saturday’s win moved the Capitals into first place in the Metropolitan Division with 35 points through 23 games, and while contributions from Washington’s most skilled forwards on its top two lines has helped the hot start, so have Chimera’s unexpected 14 points.
“It’s nice, anytime you get to score and help the team out,” Chimera said. “Anytime you see third- and fourth-line guys score, usually that team wins, so you want to keep that going and keep that mojo going for us because you need depth scoring.”
Said Alex Ovechkin: “He deserves it. He’s working hard, working hard every day. He’s don’t try to be cute. He knows what he’s capable of doing, and he’s an experienced guy. He’s our secret weapon.”
What makes this strong start by Chimera surprising is how bumpy his first season with Capitals Coach Barry Trotz was. His ice time dipped to his lowest total in a non-lockout year since 2005-06, and he had scored his fewest goals and points in a non-lockout season since 2003-04.
But comfort with Trotz started to manifest late last season, when Chimera recorded seven points in the playoffs. That’s what has carried over into this season, as Chimera has also benefited from the stability in the lineup, the left wing on the third line with center Jay Beagle all season.
Chimera’s greatest impact has been on the second power play unit. Trotz inserted him on the power play before Washington played the Philadelphia Flyers nine games ago, wanting a more pronounced net presence. Chimera has delivered, helping the second unit power play to score seven of the team’s nine power-play goals since he joined.
“It’s just fun to play anytime you’re getting some chances to play on the power play,” Chimera said. “It’s just fun to play on the power play when you play with [Evgeny Kuznetsov] and those guys, it’s pretty easy to play with. It’s nice to help the team out for sure and you want to prove you belong there and you want to stay there and you want to earn that ice time. That’s what I’m trying to do.”