Friends in High Places: Washington Capitals vs Colorado Avalanche

Washington Capitals (36-15-5) vs Colorado Avalanche (33-16-6)                 

 

Predicted Goaltender

Record

GAA / SV% / # SO

Washington Capitals

Braden Holtby

20-11-4

3.17 / .894 / 0

Colorado Avalanche

Phillip Grubauer

17-11-4

2.72 / .912 / 1

Us here at TXHT are very excited to announce that we will be providing *LIVE* coverage of the game from Pepsi Center! 

After rounding out a four-game home-stand with a 1-3-0 record, and being outscored 16-12 in that span, the Capitals are back on the road. This time, they’re off to the Mile-High City of Denver, Colorado, to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche defeated the Capitals 6-3 back on October 14th, 2019. This will be just the second meeting between these two teams this season, though many have predicted that we may be seeing a Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and the Avalanche this year.


The Washington Capitals put forth their second consecutive disastrous performance back on Monday night as they lost to the New York Islanders, 5-3. Although the loss was not as painful as the previous 7-2 loss to the Flyers, is it possible that the team is too focused on Ovechkin reaching 700? I’ll chalk up the losses to the alternate third jerseys, and horrible defense. Nick Jensen was back in the line-up on the third defensive pair, and therefore Radko Gudas was out. Washington allowed the first goal of the game, again, as Anthony Beauvillier scored just three minutes and 30 seconds into the first period. The left-winger tallied his 17th of the season, and his 2nd of the game not even three minutes later, establishing an early 2-0 lead for the Isles. Without Jensen, the Capitals held off Philadelphia for just over 15 minutes. With him back in the line-up, two goals against in just over six minutes. Coincidence? I think not. John Carlson cut the Isles lead in half with his 15th of the season, though initially, fans thought the goal was Alex Ovechkin’s’ 699th of his career. However, Devon Toews re-established that two-goal lead late in the first with his 5th goal of the season. The goal was Toews’ first since he last scored against the Capitals on January 18th. The second period saw a goal from Leo Komarov just 45 seconds in, adding to the Isles lead. Washington held off the Islanders for just about 10 minutes before Jordan Eberle scored his 9th of the season, essentially sealing the win for New York. Ilya Samsonov was pulled for just the first time after allowing five goals on 20 shots. Less than a minute later, Lars Eller, who seems to be the only consistent play on the roster right now, posted his 14th of the season, cutting into New Yorks’ lead, 5-2. On the Capitals power play, with Scott Mayfield in the penalty box, TJ Oshie brought his team within two to tie with his 21st of the season. However, the score would remain stagnant at 5-3 for the remainder of the game. Washingtons’ 2nd-best penalty kill continues to impress as they killed off both Isles’ power plays. Finally, the Capitals converted on a power play, but were 1 for 3 on the night. Braden Holtby, who has been less than good lately, came in as relief and stopped all 12 shots faced. Holtby will get the start for Washington.

The Colorado Avalanche were last in action on Tuesday night, where they shutout the Ottawa Senators 3-0, to win their fifth straight game. Late in the first period, Mikko Rantanen, who had missed 16 games with an injury, scored his 18th goal of the season. Both the Avs and the Senators received a first period power play, but neither converted. The middle period was scoreless, but Ottawa received a second opportunity with the man advantage, and again, were unable to convert. Colorado was gifted with three consecutive power plays, but they too could not convert. The Colorado Avalanche is tied for 17th in power-play efficiency in the league (19.4). Their penalty kill isn’t very good either, killing off 78.9% of all penalties taken, which lands them at 21st overall. With just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Valeri Nichushkin added to the Avs lead with his 11th of the year, on the power play (Cody Goloubef, tripping). Nathan MacKinnon, to no one’s surprise, leads the team in goals (32), assists (44), and points (76). MacKinnon also has 10 power-play goals, and Mikko Rantanen isn’t far behind with 7 of his own. However, the Avs, at home, allow on average 3.16 goals against and with the Washington Capitals ranked second in goal-scoring in the league, their starting goaltender should be prepared for that. It should also be noted that the Avalanche have allowed 15 power-play goals against in 72 shorthanded situations (ESPN). With the goaltender pulled for Ottawa, Gabriel Landeskog potted his 15th of the season to seal Colorado’s 8th win in 9 games. Former Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped all 34 shots faced and ended his night with his 2nd shutout of the season. Grubauer is expected to start for the Avalanche.


The Colorado Avalanche is without Colin Wilson (DL, lower body), and Nazem Kadri (OUT, lower body). After suffering an awkward fall into the boards on Monday, Evgeny Kuznetsov is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Kuznetsov did not participate in practice on Wednesday, but Washington has not called up anyone, so it is assumed that the team will travel with 12 forwards and six defensemen.


***NOTICE*** Due to the recent national broadcast pick up of this match, coverage of the game NOW begins at 8:30pm with Caps Faceoff Live, followed by Caps Pregame Live at 9:00pm, all on NBCSN/NBCSWA, with puck drop shortly after 9:30pm on NBC & NBCSN.


References:

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=powerPlayGoals.

TheScore. (2020). Colorado Avalanche News & Stats. Retrieved from https://www.thescore.com/nhl/teams/27. 

 

 

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