Washington Capitals (19-4-5) vs San Jose Sharks (15-12-1)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||13-2-4||2.86 / .909 / 0|
|San Jose Sharks||Martin Jones||11-8-1||3.08 / .896 / 0|
Set your coffee makers, folks. This is going to be a late one. Tonight, the Washington Capitals will play their 2nd of four consecutive road games, and first of three on this California road trip. Impressively, Washington is only the second team over the last 12 years to have scored 100 or more goals before the beginning of December. The last team to accomplish this feat was the 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks. The Capitals defeated the Sharks 5-1 back on Valentine’s Day, but have lost five of their last eight meetings with San Jose (mcubed). Most fans likely remember that heartbreaking overtime loss back in January, where two hat-tricks were scored, and blown coverage with fractions of a second remaining in the game led to Evander Kane’s tying goal. Alex Ovechkin’s three goals kept the Caps in it, but Tomas Hertl’s overtime game winning goal would complete a hat-trick of his own.
The Washington Capitals last played on Saturday, where they defeated the last-place Detroit Red Wings, 5-2. After defeating Tampa Bay in overtime one night prior, the Capitals just completely fell apart in the first period. Passing was abysmal, zone coverage, non-existent. Rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov hadn’t played since the middle of November, but made a number of point-blank saves that kept the Caps in this one. Detroit was gifted three power plays in the first period alone, including two tripping minors against Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov, and a kneeing penalty against Tom Wilson. 50 seconds after the Caps killed off the first penalty, and just 27 seconds into the Red Wings’ second power play (Orlov, tripping), Robby Fabbri gave Detroit their first lead in four games. The Capitals received their own man-advantage as Dylan McIlrath was called for holding, but Detroits’ 31st ranked penalty killed successfully kept Washington out of their defensive zone, and off the scoreboard. The Red Wings would start the second period on the power play, and Washington successfully kept Detroit from adding to their lead. The Capitals received their second power play as Dylan Larkin went off for hooking just beyond the one-minute mark of the second, and TJ Oshie, with his 11th goal of the season, managed to tie the game.
Filip Hronek would go off about three minutes later, but the Capitals would not convert on their third power play opportunity. However, at the 9:21 mark, Alex Ovechkin would score his 3rd goal in as many games, giving Washington their first lead of the night.
Detroit was gifted a chance to tie the game as the Caps were called for a bench minor with too many men on the ice. Thankfully, the good guys kept the Red Wings scoreless on their 4th power play. Comparatively, Washingtons’ second period, as it usually is, was much better, and the Capitals now led heading into the third and final frame. With just over six minutes remaining, Tom Wilson scored his 10th of the season, and first four games, giving Washington a two-goal lead.
That lead, however, was extremely short-lived, as Luke Glendenning brought Detroit back within one just nine seconds later. A massive hit by Garnet Hathaway toppled former Capital Mike Green into Washingtons’ bench.
Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill elected to pull goaltender Bernier for the extra-skater, but Alex Ovechkin would give the Caps their two-goal lead back with an empty-netter. Not even 40 seconds later, Ovi would score another empty net goal his third of the game, earning himself his 24th career hat trick.
Ilya Samsonov allowed two goals on 27 shots, ending the night with a .926 save percentage, good enough to tally his 6th win (TheScore, WAS @ DET). Braden Holtby is expected to start versus the San Jose Sharks.
The San Jose Sharks last played on Saturday night as well, where they defeated the Arizona Coyotes, 4-2. Although the Sharks started off pretty shaky, especially having come off of a Western Conference Finals appearance last year, San Jose has appeared to right their ship. The Sharks were 8-2-0 in their last 10 starts, with five wins coming in overtime or the shootout. Nick Schmaltz started the scoring just 93 seconds into the first period, and less than a minute later, Derek Stepan added to Arizona’s early lead. However, just beyond the 11-minute mark, Logan Couture got San Jose on the board, with his 7th goal of the season. The Sharks have four players with 20 or more points, and Logan Couture leads his team with 28 (TheScore, San Jose Sharks). The Sharks would receive the first power play of the game, as Jakob Chychrun was called for high-sticking. The Sharks are one of the few teams that take more penalties per game than the Capitals (11.7 PIM). Although Washingtons’ power play has been lethal as of late, San Jose boasts the best penalty kill in the league (90.7%). Just Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl have double-digit goals for San Jose, but only four players have no goals at all (minimum 15 games played). Seven of Kane’s goals have come on Sharks’ power plays, so Capitals’ penalty killers will need to keep all eyes on him. San Joses’ 20th ranked power play was unable to convert, but in the end, it didn’t really matter. At the 2:55 mark of the second period, Dylan Gambrell would tie the game with his 2nd goal of the season. Six minutes later, Timo Meier would score the eventual game-winning goal, his 9th in 27 games. Arizona would not receive their first power play until the third period, but it took just 36 seconds into the final frame for Erik Karlsson to be called for tripping. The Coyotes would not convert, but they did receive another opportunity just prior to the seven-minute mark. Karlsson was called again for tripping, and before that power play expired, Radim Simek was called for delay of game. Veteran defensemen Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson have been anything but good, with 73 giveaways between the two of them (TheScore, San Jose Sharks). The Coyotes, even with the fleeting two-man advantage, would not add to their two goals. With 29 seconds left in the game, Logan Couture would score his second of the game, extending the Sharks lead to 4-2. San Jose would ultimately out-shoot the Coyotes 29 to 23. Martin Jones finished the night with 21 saves on 23 shots (TheScore, SJS @ ARI). Jones is expected to start for San Jose.
The San Jose Sharks will be without Dalton Prout (DL, upper body), and Antti Suomela (OUT, undisclosed). On Sunday morning, the Washington Capitals re-assigned Beck Malenstyn and Christian Djoos to the Hershey Bears. Both scored for the Bears as they defeated Hartford on their Teddy Bear Toss night. Chandler Stephenson, indicating a Capitals’ roster move, was not on the ice for practice, and it appears as though Travis Boyd may have earned a permanent spot on the roster. Carl Hagelin will dress for his first game since November 7th, where he suffered an upper body injury, and was retroactively placed on long-term injured reserve. Nicklas Backstrom practiced on Monday, donning a full-contact forwards’ jersey. If no further setbacks come up, he quite possibly will be in the lineup against San Jose.
Coverage of the game begins at 9:30pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 10:00pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 10:30pm.
Support our friend’s Kickstarter campaign for Star Con today!
Mcubed. (2019). NHL: Series records: San Jose Sharks against Washington Capitals. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/sj/wsh.shtml.
TheScore. (2019). San Jose Sharks News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/25.
TheScore. (2019). San Jose Sharks at Arizona Coyotes. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22138.
TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals at Detroit Red Wings. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22132.