The Capitals Home Opener: Back to Where It All Begins

Washington Capitals (2-0-0) v. Carolina Hurricanes (1-0-0)

 Predicted Goaltender Record (W-L-OTL) GAA/SV%
Washington CapitalsBraden Holtby1-0-01.90/.909%  
Carolina HurricanesPetr Mrazek1-0-02.77/.917%

This is it. The night Capitals’ fans have been anticipating for months. The Home Opener. Although this is the third game the Washington Capitals will have played thus far, the Home Opener is the first opportunity for fans to watch their favorite team play at home, which always has a special feel to it. Last season, the Capitals raised their Stanley Cup Champions banner, made us all cry, and shut out the Boston Bruins 7-0 on the night of their home opener. This time, the boys in red are looking to Rock the Red and to defeat the team that knocked them out in the first round of the playoffs this past April; Rod Brind’amour and his Carolina Hurricanes.

Last night, the Washington Capitals beat their former bench boss Barry Trotz and his New York Islanders, 2-1 in regulation. Ilya Samsonov, in his NHL debut, and first NHL win, proved that he is indeed NHL caliber, and the future of Capitals goal-tending. The young Russian net-minder stopped 25 of 26 shots faced, and remained calm, cool, and very collected between the pipes. Samsonov did not let the rambunctious and passionate Isles hometown fan base distract or divert his attention away from the task at hand. Jakub Vrana scored his second goal of the season halfway through the first period, but one fluke of a goal two minutes later tied the game 1-1. TJ Oshie would ultimately score the game-winning goal on the Capitals’ power play late in the second. The Capitals played extremely well, sans a couple of bad passes, and extended defensive zone play early in the third period. Playing two games in as many nights is certainly not an easy feat, and the Capitals will have to dig deep tonight to come out with a win for the fans, and to downgrade a gritty, dirty Hurricanes team. As tonight’s game will be the second game of a back-to-back, Braden Holtby is expected to start for the Washington Capitals.

Capitals veteran goaltender Braden Holtby will start versus the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Carolina Hurricanes won their first game of the 2019-20 season on home ice at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Lucas Wallmark put Carolina on the board first, and rookie Martin Necas gave the Canes a short-lived 2-0 lead. Montreal would score 3 unanswered goals in the second period, but former Vegas center Erik Haula managed to tie the game at three goals apiece early in the final frame. In a nerve-wracking 4-3 shootout win over the Montreal Canadiens, it was Dougie Hamilton that would set off the Storm Surge in Raleigh. Through two preseason games, the Hurricanes actually out-shot the Capitals 45-43, but lost both, separated by just a single goal. Carolinas’ Dynamic Finnish Duo of Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen scored a combined 51 goals and tallied 108 assists for a total of 159 points last season. The two also led the team in short-handed goals with 4 from Aho, and 1 from Teravainen, and finished the season with +/- ratings of +25 and +30, respectively. Last season, versus the Capitals, Aho scored 3 goals and tallied 3 assists, and Teravainen, 1 goal and 1 assist (Sebastian Aho)(Teuvo Teravainen). To say that these two can, and have, done damage against the Capitals in recent times is definitely an understatement, but man, are they fun to watch (as long as they aren’t playing the Caps). Goaltender Petr Mrazek, in his second season with the Carolina Hurricanes, stopped 33 of 36 shots he faced, and is expected to get the start for the Canes in tonight’s contest (TheScore, Mrazek).

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden still hasn’t forgiven, and probably won’t, Canes head coach Rod Brind’amour for his inappropriate and childish exchange from the Canes bench with Caps’ hard hitter Tom Wilson last Sunday. Reirden did not miss his chance to express his discontent, despite the Hurricanes’ head coach making a bee-line for the dressing room following the final buzzer (Brandt). Wilson ultimately received a 10 minute misconduct penalty, and an additional two minutes for roughing, in an already-penalty heavy scrappy preseason game. Between both clubs, 44 penalty minutes were tallied, and 48 hits were committed. It should be noted that 71% of those hits were made by Capitals’ players (TheScore, WAS v CAR). We expect tonight’s match-up to be just as physical, with lots of bad blood between the former Stanley Cup Champs and a team that made the playoffs for the first time in 10 years last spring. We firmly believe that those recent interactions will serve as a strong motivator for the Capitals.

Coverage of the game begins at 6:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 7:00pm.

 

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Brandt, C. (2019). Todd Reirden still fired up at ‘Canes coach for ‘unprofessional’ exchange with Tom Wilson. Retrieved from https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/capitals/todd-reirden-still-fired-canes-coach-unprofessional-exchange-tom-wilson.

NHL.com. (2019). Sebastian Aho Stats. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/sebastian-aho-8478427.

NHL.com. (2019). Teuvo Teravainen Stats. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/teuvo-teravainen-8476882.

TheScore. (2019). Petr Mrazek. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/players/2204.

TheScore. (2019). WAS v CAR. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/23099.

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