Washington Capitals (35-13-5) vs Los Angeles Kings (19-29-5)
|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV% / # SO|
|Washington Capitals||Braden Holtby||19-10-4||3.11 / .896 / 1|
|Los Angeles Kings||Jonathan Quick||11-19-3||3.02 / .895 / 0|
The Washington Capitals are looking to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in the second of their four-game homestand to start off the month of February. This season, the Kings are 8-17-4 on the road, and Washington defeated LA back in December by a score of 3-1.
The Washington Capitals suffered a bitter defeat to the division rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday after two goals from Lars Eller and a late third period push fell just short. Ilya Samsonov started for the Caps, and the young netminder dropped his first game in 11 starts dating back to November 2019. The team in front of Samsonov did not play their best, and therefore this loss should not rest on the goaltender. This time. This game had a little bit of everything, including power plays a-plenty, some ill will, some missed penalties, and a whole lot of trash-talking. 12:30pm starts aren’t ideal, but in a game this important, it was vital for the Capitals to put forth a strong showing. Unfortunately, this Super Bowl Sunday mid-day match didn’t unfold as hoped. Lars Eller, 10 minutes and 38 seconds into the first period, scored his 12th of the season, giving the Capitals an early lead. However, as has been commonplace for Washington lately, that lead was quickly washed out as Sean Lafferty got the Pens on the board just over a minute later. Not even 60 seconds after Lafferty’s goal, Patric Hornqvist teased the puck past Samsonov to mark his 12th of the season. Pittsburgh led 2-1 heading into the first intermission. Just short of the 12-minute mark of the middle period, Dominik Simon improved the Penguins’ lead with his 7th of the season. Pittsburgh absolutely dominated play through the first 40 minutes, and through two periods, Washington was held to just 19 shots on goal, though it seemed like far less. Exactly six minutes into the final frame, Evgeny Kuznetsov, off a lucky bounce behind Matt Murray, tallied his 18th goal of the season, and second goal in two games. With just under two minutes left in the game, Brandon Tanev game Pittsburgh their comfy two-goal lead back with his 11th of the season. Before all was said and done, Lars Eller scored his 2nd of the game, assuring a respectable loss, nonetheless a loss, to the Penguins in their first meeting of the season. A total of 26 penalty minutes were doled out through three periods, and probably the most impressive stat of the afternoon was the six Pittsburgh power plays that the Capitals successfully killed off. Even with top penalty-killers Carl Hagelin, Garnet Hathaway, Jonas Siegenthaler and Tom Wilson taking turns in the penalty box, Pittsburghs’ power play units were unable to convert. Even with a number of opportunities with the two-man advantage, the one thing the Penguins couldn’t do today, was score on a power play. The Capitals did not convert on any of their three power plays, either. Tom Wilson registered a career-high 12 hits throughout today’s game, and the Capitals nearly doubled up on the Penguins with 47 hits (vs 25) (TheScore, PIT @ WAS). Ilya Samsonov ended his night with a .879 save percentage, courtesy of 29 saves on 33 shots. Braden Holtby will get the start for the Capitals versus the Kings.
The Los Angeles Kings were last in action on Saturday, as they lost to their division rival Anaheim Ducks. Ironically, the last time the Caps and Kings played one-another, Los Angeles had lost to the Ducks the game before, as well. The Kings are 2-7-1 in their last 10, and have allowed 27 goals against in that span. Max Jones got the Ducks on the board early in the first period with his 6th of the season. Derek Grant, at the 2:33 mark of the second, improved Anaheim’s lead by two, and just over four minutes later, Jacob Larsson made it 3-0. The LA Kings peppered Ducks’ goaltender Ryan Miller with 47 shots, but only Tyler Toffoli, late in the third, was able to solve the nearly-40 year old netminder. Toffoli’s 14th goal of the season came on the Kings power play with Cam Fowler in the penalty box for holding. The Kings’ 4th worst penalty kill successfully kept the Ducks from converting on their singular power play, but their 8th worst power play actually ended up 1-for-2 on the night. Anze Kopitar, per usual, leads the Kings with 17 goals and 30 assists, for 47 points through 53 games (NHL.com). More impressively, however, is Alex Iafallo. The 26-year old left-winger has just 14 goals, but Iafallo has goals in three of his last five games, including a hat-trick against the Arizona Coyotes. Five have come on the power play. Unfortunately for LA, however, are the 22 power play goals against the team has allowed on the road this season (ESPN). And lucky for Washington, the Kings have just one short-handed goal in 28 road games. Washington leads the league in most short-handed goals allowed, with five coming in January, and two since the All-Star Break. Jonathan Quick, after allowing three goals on 28 shots, dropped his fifth straight appearance, and 8th in nine starts. Quick is slated to start for the Kings.
The Los Angeles Kings are currently without Drew Doughty (DTD, undisclosed). Earlier today, the Washington Capitals recalled defense-man Martin Fehervary from the Hershey Bears. It is predicted that Jonas Siegenthaler will not play tonight, and Fehervary will take his place. Additionally, goaltender Ilya Samsonov was injured during morning skate, and as a precaution, Washington is recalling goaltender Vitek Vanecek, also from Hershey.
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- Special Teams. Retrieved from http://proxy.espn.com/nhl/statistics/team?stat=special-teams&sort=shortHandedGoalsAgainst&split=33&order=false.
HockeyReference.(2020). Ilya Samsonov Stats. Retrieved from https://www.hockey-reference.com/players/s/samsoil01.html.
NHL.com (2020). Anze Kopitar Stats and News. Retrieved from https://www.nhl.com/player/anze-kopitar-8471685.
TheScore. (2020). Pittsburgh Penguins @ Washington Capitals. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/events/22532.