Washington Capitals (20-4-5) vs Los Angeles Kings (11-15-2)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Ilya Samsonov||6-2-1||2.58 / .914 / 0|
|Los Angeles Kings||Jonathan Quick||7-10-1||3.36 / .882 / 0|
Next stop, the City of Angels! The Washington Capitals will play their third game of this road trip against the also struggling LA Kings. The Kings are just 9-5-1 at home, and the last time these two teams played, back in February, Washington defeated Los Angeles, 3-2 at Staples Center. The Caps have won their last two meetings with LA. However, the Kings are 12-4-0 against Washington, dating back to 2008 (mcubed).
Last night, the Washington Capitals steam-rolled the San Jose Sharks in a 5-2 victory at SAP Center, just 342 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Carl Hagelin played his first game since November 7th. Despite speculation surrounding his return, Nicklas Backstrom did not play, but is making continued progress. This was the first game all season in which the Capitals did not record a single penalty minute. Melker Karlsson started off the scoring just two and a half minutes into the match, giving San Jose an early lead, with his 3rd goal of the season. The Capitals have won just seven games when the opposition scores first, but recently, Washington has won most of their games in the form of a come-back. Richard Panik almost tied it all up with a short-side inside pipe shot, but puck luck was not on his side. That pipe shot was the Caps’ 32nd of the year. Garnet Hathaway completed the perfect pass to Nic Dowd for a point-blank shot, but Sharks’ goaltender Martin Jones robbed the Caps of another scoring chance. At the 13:31 mark, Garnet Hathaway tied the game with a perfect deflection from John Carlson’s shot beyond the circles.
Not even one minute later, Jakub Vrana gave Washington their first lead of the game with his 13th goal of the season, after his initial shot deflected off the right pipe.
With just over three minutes remaining in the period, John Carlson improved the Capitals’ lead to 3-1.
A two-goal lead is the most dangerous lead to have in hockey, but Washington would start the second period with the advantage. Garnet Hathaway scored his 2nd goal of the game two and a half minutes into the middle frame.
Washington received the first power play of the night, coming nearly halfway through the game. Melker Karlsson tripped up Radko Gudas, and then Nic Dowd was also tripped. Unfortunately, the zebras got this call wrong, and Gambrell went off for two minutes for tripping. However, the Sharks’ top ranked penalty kill kept the Caps up by just three. Jakub Vrana scored his second of the game, and 14th of the season, with just about four minutes remaining in the second.
Through two periods, it’s safe to say that this has definitely been one the best games the Capitals have put together this season. Particularly against a team like San Jose, who, despite a slow start, was 11-2-0 heading into tonight’s match-up. Starting the third and final frame, San Jose would swap out Martin Jones, and call in Aaron Dell to hold down the fort between the pipes for the remainder of the game. Evander Kane gave the Sharks their second goal on the night with just under seven minutes left in the game. Kane’s 13th of the season was just his 6th at even strength. Washington received just the second power play of the night as Evander Kane then was called for a nasty hit against Radko Gudas that sent him to the locker room for medical evaluation.
After review, Kane would receive a five-minute major for elbowing, and was assessed a game misconduct. With the penalty, the Capitals would play the remainder of the game on a power play.
Although the Capitals did not ultimately convert on the five-minute power play, Washington would walk away with their 20th win of the season. Braden Holtby made 23 saves on 25 shots, earning himself his 13th victory. With Holtby having started between the pipes last night, Ilya Samsonov is slated to play tonight.
The Los Angeles Kings last played on Monday night, where they lost to long-time rival Anaheim Ducks. In what usually is a hard-hitting, penalty-heavy matchup, this one only saw three power plays in 60 minutes (TheScore, LAK @ ANH). Derek Grant started the scoring as he potted his 7th of the season just over five minutes into the first period. Tyler Toffoli was called for slashing just beyond the eight-minute mark. Just as the Ducks power play was expiring, Jakub Silfverberg gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead. The Kings’ special teams are among the worst in the league, and their penalty kill is tied for 28th (74.7%) (TheScore, Los Angeles). Both Kings’ goals came in the second period, with their first coming off the stick of Kurtis MacDermid at the 6:01 mark of the middle frame. Anaheim’s eventual game-winning goal came from Carter Rowney 46 seconds later, as he scored his 5th of the season. The Kings received their first power play at the 7:53 mark, as Hampus Lindholm was called for interference, but LA’s 29th ranked power play did not convert. Operating at just 11.3% efficiency, the Kings have scored just one goal in their last 12 power play opportunities, the last coming versus the New York Islanders, where they eventually won 4-1 (TheScore, Los Angeles). Erik Gudbranson would be called for delay of game with 20 seconds remaining on the first Kings’ power play, but despite the two-man advantage, and subsequent modified power play, LA would not score. Nikolai Prokhorkin would bring the Kings within one at the 11:42 mark of the second period. Despite holding off Anaheim for the remainder of the second, 19 minutes and 38 seconds of the third, the Kings would drop their 5th game in 7 starts. Derek Grant scored his second of the game, an empty-netter, with just 38 seconds remaining in the game, sealing the win for Anaheim. The Los Angeles Kings allow the most shots on goal against (28.1), but held the Ducks to just 20 through three periods. Conversely, the Kings register the 2nd most shots on goal for in the league, averaging 34.8 per game, and ultimately out-shot the Ducks 38-20 (TheScore, Los Angeles). Jack Campbell allowed three goals on 19 shots, ending the night with a .842 save percentage (TheScore, LAK @ ANH). Jonathan ‘Not So Quick’ Quick is expected to start for the Kings.
The Lost Angeles Kings will be without Alec Martinez (DL, wrist), and Derek Forbort (IR-NR, back). On Monday, the Washington Capitals traded forward Chandler Stephenson to the Las Vegas Knights, in exchange for a 5th round pick in the 2021 Entry Draft. It is unclear if Nicklas Backstrom will play tonight, as he did not dress yesterday. Radko Gudas appears to be good to go tonight, despite taking an elbow to the head last night versus the Sharks.
Coverage of the game begins at 9:00pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 9:30pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 10:00pm.
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Mcubed. (2019). NHL: Series records: Washington Capitals against Los Angeles Kings. Retrieved from http://mcubed.net/nhl/wsh/la.shtml.
TheScore. (2019). Los Angeles Kings News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/23.
TheScore. (2019). Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22149.
TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals at San Jose Sharks. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22159.