Washington Capitals (30-11-5) vs Carolina Hurricanes (27-16-2)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Ilya Samsonov||12-2-1||2.25 / .921 / 0|
|Carolina Hurricanes||Petr Mrazek||17-10-2||2.64 / .905 / 3|
The second of a three-game homestand will see the Washington Capitals facing off against the Carolina Hurricanes for the 2nd time in 10 days, and the third time in three weeks. This will be the fourth and final meeting between these two teams, this regular season. The Capitals defeated the Hurricanes in a close 4-3 victory back on January 3rd. Power forward Tom Wilson will also be playing his 500th career NHL game as the Caps take on the Hurricanes.
The Washington Capitals suffered an ugly defeat on Saturday night, as they lost to the New Jersey Devils, 5-1. Washington donned their alternates, which may or may not be bad luck. Retooled power play units were the only ones to tally a goal, and weakness up and down the lineup continue to expose themselves. Goaltending continues to suffer, and the Caps’ special teams are not where they need to be. Once again, the Capitals gave up the first goal of the game to Nico Hischier, as he scored his 11th of the season. The only goal of the first period, as Washington was unable to convert on the first power play of the game. The middle frame saw four goals. The Capitals successfully kept the Devils off the scoreboard during their singular power play. Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply kill off a penalty. It only took a few seconds for Nikita Gusev to score upon the expiration of that power play. On the Capitals second power play, Blake Coleman scored shorthanded, improving New Jerseys’ lead to 3-0. Jakub Vrana, newly added to the Capitals’ power play, was able to spoil goaltender Louis Domingue’s shutout hopes, with his 20th of the season. The power play goal marked his first PPG of the season. Four minutes later, Hischier scored his second of the game, renewing the Devils’ three-goal lead. Many speculated if the Capitals would elect to swap out Braden Holtby, who allowed four goals on eight shots in the second, and start the third period with Ilya Samsonov in net. That, however, did not occur. The third period was uneventful, and head coach Todd Reirden elected to pull Braden Holtby with just about five minutes remaining in the game. Miles Wood sealed the win with an empty-net goal shortly thereafter. The Capitals out-shot the Devils 32 to 26, but Louis Domingue, who had just one win heading into Saturdays game, was just a little too good for the Caps. Braden Holtby ended the night with a .810 save percentage. His last .900 performance was back on December 21st versus Tampa Bay. Since then, Holtby has just one win. Ilya Samsonov will likely get the start for the Capitals.
Conversely, the Carolina Hurricanes won their last game, a 2-0 shutout over the LA Kings. Just short of the five-minute mark of the first period, Nino Neiderreiter scored his sixth of the season, giving Carolina an early lead. Carolina’s 10th ranked penalty kill kept the Kings from converting on either of their two power plays. Although they were shutout, the Kings did not allow the Hurricanes power play to convert on their man-advantage, either. Tuevo Teravainen potted an empty-net goal with just four seconds remaining in the game to seal Carolina’s 27th win of the season. On the road, Carolina is 12-8-2, and is just 4-8-1 versus the Metropolitan division. With the All-Star break looming, it is worth noting that defenseman Dougie Hamilton will be representing the Hurricanes and the Metro division at the All-Star Game this year. Hamilton leads the Hurricanes with 26 assists, and ranks 3rd among all defensemen in the league for points (40). Only Roman Josi and Washington’s John Carlson has more (46 and 54, respectively). James Reimer tallied his fourth shutout of the season with his stunning 41-save performance, though Petr Mrazek is expected to start versus the Capitals.
For Washington, Richard Panik received 20 stitches to repair a facial injury, which was the result of a high-stick to the face versus the Devils. He is expected to play. The Carolina Hurricanes are currently playing with a completely healthy roster.
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.
ESPN. (2020). 2019-20 NHL Hockey Stats and League Leaders. Retrieved from http://proxy.espn.com/nhl/statistics/team?stat=special-teams&sort=powerPlayGoalsAgainst&split=33.
NHL.com (2020). Dougie Hamilton News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/dougie-hamilton-8476462.
TheScore. (2020). Carolina Hurricanes News and Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/12.
TheScore. (2020). Washington Capitals News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/15.