- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

As T.J. Oshie skated toward the bench, the Capitals forward looked directly at Tom Wilson and starting wobbling his head from side to side. Oshie was following through with a celebration that the two talked about before Tuesday’s 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars.

On a night when fans at Capital One Arena received an Oshie bobblehead, what better way to celebrate a goal than to act like, well, a bobblehead?

“It’s kind of embarrassing you guys saw that,” Oshie said.

Lately, Oshie has returned to form. After a 19-game goal drought, Oshie has scored four goals in his last four games. He’s up to 16 on the season.

That’s well below his career-best 33-goal campaign last year, but the Capitals need Oshie to contribute, especially in the playoffs.

“I’ve been trying to jump to more spaces,” Oshie said. “Tonight, I put a lot of focus into trying to win puck battles and getting in on the forecheck and use my legs. Tonight, it worked for me a little bit, it created a little space.”

Oshie’s 19-game dip wasn’t his only rough patch this season. He also went through a 13-game drought.

In December, Oshie suffered the fourth concussion of his career — missing six games.

Oshie’s game fell off not long after. Through January and February, Oshie recorded just one goal in 25 games with 11 assists. Compare that to the first two months of the season — where Oshie had 10 goals and 12 assists — and there was reason for concern.

Complicating matters was Oshie’s contract. The 31-year-old star signed an eight-year, $46 million deal in July. It would be problematic for the Capitals, to say the least, for Oshie to already show signs of decline in the first year of the deal.

But with the playoffs around the corner, Oshie’s game seems to have settled. Oshie said he felt he started playing better hockey in the San Jose game on March 10.

Oshie got back into the score sheet two games later, scoring twice against the New York Islanders on March 15.

“I like where T.J. is going right now,” coach Barry Trotz said. “That’s the T.J. Oshie that I’m used to seeing, in the many years in St. Louis and for us. He’s ramping his game up at the right time. I think he’s going really good.”

The Capitals coach added Oshie’s gained traction by “getting the monkey off your back” of going 19 games without a goal.

Trotz said Oshie is doing a better job of chasing down pucks and getting back to the “foundations” of his game. 


“There’s maybe a little extra pressure to go out there and work hard, but other than that, this time of year is the exciting time,” Oshie said. “I think the bobblehead night just amplified it just a little.”

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