Washington Capitals (28-9-5) vs San Jose Sharks (18-21-3)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||17-7-4||2.99 / .902 / 0|
|San Jose Sharks||Martin Jones||13-15-1||3.13 / .893 / 0|
The Capitals started 2020 with a huge win in Raleigh, North Carolina against the Hurricanes, and now are back in DC to take on the San Jose Sharks. San Jose won just two of 13 games last month, and the Capitals drowned the Sharks 5-2 back on December 3rd.
On Friday night, the Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, for the first time in three meetings this season. Washington has dropped three consecutive games just once this season heading into tonight’s game. Ilya Samsonov was the difference maker in the first period, as the Hurricanes bombarded him with nearly 20 shots just in the first 20 minutes. The Capitals were challenged with killing off three Carolina man advantages, including a 5-on-3 stint in which the Canes did not convert (Siegenthaler, delay of game)(Samsonov, embellishment, served by Vrana)(Eller, interference). At the expiration of the first period, a scrum ensued just after the whistle, and new-dad Nic Dowd was assessed a 10-minute game misconduct for tossing the stick of Evgeny Svechnikov into the stands. The second frame was extraordinary for the Capitals. Just short of the three-minute mark, Richard Panik ‘scored’ his 5th goal of the season, but the puck ultimately deflected off of Carolina’s Brett Pesce past Petr Mrazek. Just about two minutes later, on the power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov improved Washington’s lead to two goals to none (Aho, interference). Alex Ovechkin was called for slashing at the 8:12 mark, but the Caps penalty killers kept Carolina off the scoreboard. Aho would be called again for interference with about five minutes remaining in the period, but the Capitals wouldn’t convert this time. The Capitals killed off another Hurricanes power play to round out the second period (Wilson, slashing). Washington held Carolina to just eight shots on goal this period, and registered 14 of their own, but still struggled with faceoffs. The third and final frame saw an early Carolina goal from Jordan Staal that brought the Canes within one, and back-to-back goals from Capitals to make the score 4-1. Just 39 seconds in, Staal scored his 6th goal of the season. Shortly thereafter, Erik Haula went off for slashing, and Lars Eller potted the puck past Mrazek, and ended up 2 for 3 on the power play. At the 4:51 mark, Jakub Vrana scored his first goal in 10 games, and 16th of the season. Carl Hagelin went off for hooking, and seven seconds into the Carolina power play, Tuevo Teravainen cut the Capitals lead in half once again. TJ Oshie was then called for cross-checking, and with over seven minutes remaining, Ryan Dzingel would bring Carolina within one. Undisciplined play would take a comfy Washington lead and destroy it once again. A heart-pounding final five minutes would eventually end up with a power play for the Capitals. Samsonov and the Caps defense was tested by an onslaught of shots from the Hurricanes. Dougie Hamilton went off for roughing with 2:44 remaining, but the Capitals would sneak out of Raleigh with a win. Ilya Samsonov made 38 saves on 41 shots, ending his night with a .927 save percentage. With the win, Samsonov extended his win streak to eight consecutive games on the road. Braden Holtby is expected to start versus the Sharks.
Yesterday, the San Jose Sharks won 3-2 over the Columbus Blue Jackets. An early Sharks power play was unable to register even a shot on goal (Foligno, tripping). Shortly thereafter, Joel Kellman scored his 2nd goal, giving San Jose a 1-0 lead, but Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella challenged for offsides. Ultimately, the goal was called back. Much of the first period was played without incident, but Evander Kane was called for tripping with just over six minutes remaining. San Jose’s top ranked penalty kill kept the Blue Jackets off the board during the man-advantage. The Sharks are lucky to have such a successful penalty kill, given that they are the 3rd most penalized team in the league (11.3 penalty minutes/game) (TheScore, San Jose). Comparatively, Washington is the 4th most penalized team, with an average of 10.7 penalty minutes/game (TheScore, Washington). Although both the Sharks and the Blue Jackets registered over 10 shots on goal in the first, neither teams’ shots ended up on the scoreboard. Just about five minutes into the second, Barclay Goodrow was assessed a two-minute penalty for slashing. San Jose would ultimately kill off that penalty, and Goodrow, thanks to a bad turnover from behind the Columbus goal, would put the Sharks up 1-0. This time, the goal would stand. Less than two minutes later, defensive breakdowns in front of Aaron Dell led to Zach Werenski tying the game at one goal each. Evander Kane broke the tie with just over five minutes left in the middle frame. Both Kane and Tomas Hertl are tied for most goals on the Sharks roster at 15 goals apiece. Logan Couture leads with 34 points, but six other skaters have 20 or more points on the year. Erik Karlsson would make it 3-1 with just over three minutes left in the match. Moments later, with Dell dancing around the outskirts of the goal crease, Werenski scored his 2nd of the game and 13th of the season, bringing Columbus within one. The Blue Jackets elected to pull goaltender Elvis Merzlikins for the extra attacker, but San Jose would end Columbus’ 12-game point streak. With San Jose having started Aaron Dell yesterday, Martin Jones is expected to start versus the Capitals. Jones is 5-4-0 versus Washington in nine starts and has lost three of his last four games against the Caps.
The Sharks will be without the services of Dalton Prout, who is out with an upper body injury. Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was out with an illness and did not practice.
Coverage of the game begins at 11:30am with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 12:00pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 12:30pm.
TheScore. (2020). San Jose Sharks News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/25.
TheScore. (2019). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15.