Washington Capitals (11-2-3) vs Florida Panthers (7-3-4)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||6-1-3||3.30 / .895% / 0|
|Florida Panthers||Sergei Bobrovsky||6-2-3||3.36 / .882% / 1|
The Washington Capitals are currently riding a four-game win streak, and are hoping to extend that to five games when they take on the Florida Panthers tonight at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida (TheScore, Capitals). Last year, the Panthers were the team that the Capitals just couldn’t figure out. Their last meeting came April 1st, as the Caps fell to the Cats 3-5. Prior to that loss, Washington lost 5-4 in overtime in February. Their first meeting, which came October 19, 2018, saw goalie changes for both teams. After allowing four goals in the first period, Pheonix Copley came in to relieve Braden Holtby. The Capitals came back and scored four unanswered goals in the second, and the Panthers ultimately pulled Jeremy Reimer, and sent in Michael Hutchinson. In the third, the Panthers would score again, as would the Caps, and the game went into overtime. Neither team would score in overtime, and Copley would see his first career shootout, in which Jonathan Huberdeau would score the game winner (NHL.com, Capitals). This will be the first time the 2019-20 Capitals play against former Cap Brett Connolly, and former Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Can the Capitals rewrite history against the Panthers?
On Sunday, the Washington Capitals extinguished the Calgary Flames in a 4-2 home victory. Prior to puck drop, the Capitals held an on-ice celebration to honor the World Series Champions Washington Nationals. Through the course of the last three seasons, the two teams have expressed outrageous support for one-another, attending games for the respective teams. From chugging beers through t-shirts, pouring beer into fans mouths, and shirtless Zamboni rides, this was a game you really didn’t want to miss. Jakub Vrana would score his first career hat-trick (TheScore, Calgary Flames @ Washington Capitals). Andrew Mangiapane would actually score first, as he put the Flames up 1-0 just under six minutes into the first period. However, at the 11:01 mark, Jake ‘The Snake’ Vrana would start off an unforgettable night of goal-scoring as he tallied his 7th goal of the season. Four minutes later, he scored his 8th goal. While fans were hyped and excited for all the games’ festivities, the nerves never seemed to disappear. Seconds before the end of the 1st, Elias Lindholm tied the game at two goals apiece. 15 minutes into the second period, Vrana would score his third of the night, rounding out his first hat-trick of his career, giving Washington a 3-2 lead. Lars Eller scored his 5th goal of the season on the power play 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the third, re-establishing Washingtons’ 2-goal lead. The period would remain goal-less for the Flames, and the Capitals walked away with their 11th win of the season. Ilya Samsonov picked up his 5th win, and is actually undefeated in games he has started (TheScore, Calgary Flames @ Washington Capitals). Samsonov’s only loss came versus the Colorado Avalanche when he relieved Braden Holtby of his duties, after allowing 3 goals on 3 shots. Braden Holtby is expected to start tonight versus the Panthers.
The Panthers have not played since Saturday November 2nd, where they shut out the Detroit Red Wings 4-0. Goals from Brett Connolly and Aleksander Barkov in the first, and two goals from Jonathan Huberdeau, one in the second and third, gave Florida their second consecutive win for only the second time through 14 games. The Panthers rank second overall in shots on goal (34.8), but they allow 29.4 shots against (TheScore, Florida). Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in goals and points with 9 and 18 respectively, but former Capitals winger Brett Connolly isn’t far behind. Through 14 games, Connolly boasts 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points (TheScore, Florida). After signing an absolutely massive contract worth $70 million over seven years with the Panthers back in July, expectations were high for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. However, his start in the Sunshine State hasn’t been stunning. His first shutout of the season improved his record to 6-2-3, but Bobrovsky only faced 22 shots on goal from Detroit, and his GAA and save percentage needs some work. He was pulled and replaced by backup Sam Montembeault versus the Vancouver Canucks after allowing 2 goals on 6 shots. The Cats ultimately lost that game 7-2. He is, however, expected to start for the Florida Panthers tonight.
The Florida Panthers are without Jayce Hawryluk (OUT, upper body), and centers Vincent Trocheck and Noel Acciari are both day-to-day with lower body and undisclosed injuries, respectively. Nic Dowd and Richard Panik, who have been out of the lineup with injuries, both skated with the team the other day, and Dowd may make the lineup tonight for the Capitals. Panik cannot be activated off of injured reserve until November 11th, when the Capitals play the Arizona Coyotes.
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.
NHL.com. (2019). Washington Capitals Schedule. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/capitals/schedule/2018/ET/fullseason.
Sports Illustrated. (2019). Sergei Bobrovsky Agrees to Seven-Year, $70 Million Contract With Panthers. Retrieved from https://www.si.com/nhl/2019/07/01/sergei-bobrovsky-contract-free-agency-panthers.
TheScore. (2019). Calgary Flames @ Washington Capitals. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/21944.
TheScore. (2019). Florida Panthers News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/13.
TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15.