Washington Capitals (26-7-5) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (17-14-6)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||17-5-4||2.87 / .907 / 0|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||Joonas Korpisalo||17-10-3||2.54 / .911 / 2|
After a much-needed holiday break, the Washington Capitals are back at it again as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets for the third time in December. Columbus has defeated the Caps in their first two meetings, each coming just seven days apart. Their last win was a 3-0 shutout win on home ice. The Capitals want to reverse that curse, this time, at home.
On Monday, the Washington Capitals lost to the Boston Bruins for just the second time in 18 meetings, and the first time in TD Garden since 2014. The defeat came in the form of a brutal 7-3 annihilation. The Capitals were assessed nine penalties across three periods, although three were doled out equally to both teams. The Boston Bruins put up four goals in the first period, each just within minutes of each other. The first and last Bruins goal were scored on the power play. Nick Jensen went off for high-sticking just 90 seconds into the game. As soon as that penalty was killed off by the Caps, Radko Gudas was called for hooking. Nine seconds later, Jake DeBrusk tallied his 9th goal of the season. Washington received a power play just short of the nine-minute mark (McAvoy, tripping), but would not convert. At the 13:29 mark, Brad Marchand scored his 19th of the season, and 27 seconds later, Anders Bjork improved the Bruins lead by three. Garnet Hathaway and Connor Clifton received matching two-minute minors, but neither the Caps nor the Bruins scored on the four-on-four. Jakub Vrana would be called for tripping, and on the delayed penalty, Evgeny Kuznetsov was also called for slashing. Boston received a 5-on-3, two-man advantage, and with just over a minute left in the period, Patrice Bergeron scored his 14th of the year. Braden Holtby was pulled after the first, and Ilya Samonsov was entrusted with keeping the game manageable. The second period saw two more Capitals power plays, that were unable to get the good guys on the board. Conversely, Charlie Coyle scored short-handed, increasing the Bruins lead to a span of 5-0. Alex Ovechkin would finally get the Caps on the board at the 14:35 mark with his 23rd of the season. Shortly thereafter, John Carlson was called for slashing, but Boston did not convert. The Bruins were gifted another power play early in the third period, but did not convert (Ovechkin, holding). The Capitals have been called for the third most minor penalties across the entire league. Although the penalty kill is among the top five in the league, Washington has a MAJOR penalty problem. Boston, however, more than any other team, is called for ‘too-many-men’ bench minors nearly every game, and the Capitals had the chance to cut the Bruins lead short of the eight-minute mark of the third. Tom Wilson and David Pastrnak would get involved, and both would be assessed roughing penalties. Wilson received an additional 10-minute misconduct penalty, and would have his night cut short. At the same time, Boston would receive another bench minor penalty for too-many-men. Lars Eller dug into the Bruins lead with his 8th of the season, but 1:30 later, after electing to pull Holtby, David Krejci would extend that lead once again with an empty-net goal. Washington leads the league in extra-attacker offense when pulling the goalie, and Garnet Hathaway backed up that stat with his 6th goal of the year, bringing the score to 6-3. Unfortunately, Patrice Bergeron would go on to score his 2nd of the game, another empty-netter, sealing the 7-3 win. Given the circumstances, Samsonov held his own against an incredibly talented team, and lost just his second game in which he finished as relief. Samsonov is expected to start against the Blue Jackets.
Also on Monday, The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the New York Islanders, 3-2. Impressively, the Blue Jackets are riding a five-game win streak, kicked off by with a 5-2 win over the Capitals on December 16th. Although Anders Lee got the Islanders on the board first, two second period goals from the Blue Jackets and a third in the third period lifted them over the New York powerhouse. Columbus killed off all three Islanders power plays, helping to improve their penalty kill to 81%, good enough for 15th (Gerbe, tripping)(Nyquist, roughing)(Dubois, hooking)(TheScore, Columbus). Kevin Stenlund tied the game at the 6:18 mark of the second period, and just over three minutes later, Nathan Gerbe, with his first goal of the season, gave the Blue Jackets their first lead. Mathew Barzal then tied the game at two goals apiece at the 13:40, but his goal would be the last the Isles scored this time. Much of the third period was uneventful, aside from some four-on-four play early on. It was Vladislav Gavrikov, with his 4th of the season, that would score the game-winner for Columbus. The shots in this one were very evenly matched, with the Islanders edging out the Blue Jackets, 37-35. Columbus’ face-off percentage is only 0.1% worse than the Caps (49.4%), but their overall shot percentage is a measly 7.9%. Joonas Korpisalo tallied his 17th win of the year and ended his night with an outstanding .946 save percentage (TheScore, CBJ @ NYI). Korpisalo is expected to start for the Blue Jackets.
Michal Kempny and Radko Gudas did not skate this morning, due to illness. Both will be game-time decisions per head coach Todd Reirden. Washington has recalled Christian Djoos from the Hershey Bears.
Columbus is still struggling with a laundry list of injuries, of which you can learn more about below. Those highlighted are new injuries. Since the last time these two teams played, Zach Werenski and Kole Sherwood are back in the lineup:
- C- Brandon Dubinsky (DL, wrist)
- RW- Cam Atkinson (DTD, lower body)
- D- Ryan Murray (DTD, upper body)
- RW- Josh Anderson (DTD, upper body)
- RW- Oliver Bjorkstrand (DL, ribs)
- LW- Sonny Milano (DTD, upper body)
- D- Markus Nutivaara (DL, upper body)
- D- Andrew Peeke (DL, finger)
- RW- Emil Bemstrom (OUT, upper body)
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.
TheScore. (2019). Columbus Blue Jackets at New York Islanders. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22299.
TheScore. (2019). Columbus Blue Jackets News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/17.
TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22297.