Joe Snively's torrid streak makes good case for long-term roster spot


Washington’s current road trip has gone better than expected for a couple reasons. The Capitals have taken all four points so far with wins in Nashville and Philadelphia, thanks in part to one hot streak from a somewhat unexpected source: Joe Snively.

Snively found the scoresheet yet again on Thursday night in Philadelphia by rebounding his own shot on the power play and putting the Caps up 2-1 in the second period. Washington would go on to win the contest 5-3.

“We had a good entry and [Dmitry] Orlov delivered a hard shot to the net and [Conor] Sheary and I were just kinda mucking in front of the net, and luckily it went in,” Snively said of the first power play goal of his career.

Blaine Forsythe’s special teams have struggled this season, but seeing production on the second power play unit from Snively certainly bodes well for the man advantages down the stretch. Snively also should be comforted by the fact that the coaching staff holds enough faith in him to have him hit the ice during power plays.

“I think you just gotta make plays more quickly [coming on for the second unit],” Snively said. “You don’t have enough time to draw them out. You just gotta deliver pucks to the net and get bodies to the net.”

Snively, a 26-year-old forward who hails from Herndon, Va., was a call-up from AHL Hershey in mid-December to combat the Capitals’ ever-present injury issues to their forward lines. At the time of his call-up, he led the Bears with 22 points in 21 games and didn’t seem to miss a beat once he faced the increased talent level of the NHL. He notched an assist on a Connor McMichael goal in his first-ever NHL game.

A month later, he scored not one but two goals—his first ever in the NHL—in a dominant 5-2 win in Montreal. All told, Snively has scored four goals in his last four games and has put up seven points in nine career games with Washington. He was originally brought in as a depth piece but is rapidly proving his worth to stick around long-term.

Snively has a good nose for the puck and plays with the energy you would expect from a guy who needs to prove his worth in the big leagues. Plus, he crashes the net and engages in puck battles along the boards. His tenacity is a breath of fresh air for a Capitals team that has, at times, failed to showcase that tenacity in big games this year.

“He had a big goal, it was a nice play,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of Snively’s power play strike against the Flyers. “He could’ve scored on his first shift, too. I think he hit the crossbar. He finds a way to make a difference.”

Laviolette shifted the lines up prior to Thursday’s game and put Snively on the left wing alongside Nick Backstrom and Tom Wilson on the second line. While his two linemates underperformed in the contest, Snively salvaged the unit by putting up a go-ahead goal. He’s making a serious case to stay put in the top couple lines in D.C.

“He’s got good vision and the ability to score,” Laviolette said.

Injuries to other top-liners obviously make or break Snively’s status on the Capitals. Anthony Mantha and T.J. Oshie remain out with different blights, allowing Snively’s call-up to last a bit longer than expected. Snively’s play, though, makes him a true candidate to stick around in Washington for the remainder of the season. Time will tell.

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