|Predicted Goaltender||Record||GAA / SV%|
|Washington Capitals||Vitek Vanecek||1-0-1||1.44 / .938|
|Colorado Avalanche||Darcy Kuemper||1-1-0||3.10 / .902|
The Washington Capitals are looking to snag a win against a depleted Colorado Avalanche team on Tuesday night. These two teams have not seen each other since February 13th, 2020, when the Caps defeated the Avs by a score of 3-2.
On Saturday, the Washington Capitals fell to the reigning back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime by a score of 2-1. Vitek Vanecek got the start in net for Washington for a second consecutive game, and Caps center Lars Eller played his 800th career game. With Hendrix Lapierre sliding into the lineup once again, Connor McMichael was a healthy scratch, along with defensemen Matt Irwin and the Caps’ newest addition, Dennis Cholowski, whom was acquired from the Seattle Kraken earlier in the week.
Capitals Starting Line-Up
|G Vitek Vanecek||RW Tom Wilson|
|D Martin Fehervary||C Evgeny Kuznetsov|
|D John Carlson||LW Alex Ovechkin|
Less than four minutes into the first period, the Capitals received their first power play of the night as Alex Killorn was called for hooking. Washington would not convert, however. With 2:09 remaining in the first, the Lightning would score, or so they thought, but the goal was challenged by Washington. After review it was determined that puck was out of play prior to the goal being scored, so it remained 0-0 heading into the second. At the end of 20, Washington was outshooting Tampa 10-4.
The second period featured another, albeit unsuccessful, Caps power play, this one at the 13:25 mark as Ross Colton was called for cross-checking. Tampa Bay got their first chance with the man advantage not long after as Carl Hagelin went off for holding. The Bolts did not score, either. With just over 60 seconds remaining, Alex Ovechkin would score his 3rd goal in 2 games to put his Caps on the board.
Washington nearly made it 2-0 as Caps’ faithful had thought Ovechkin scored a second time 15 seconds later, but the goal was waived off as the puck did not completely cross the goal-line. From my view in 412, I thought it went in, though.
The Lightning tied the game at one goal apiece just before the five-minute mark of the third period. Mikhail Sergachev scored his first goal of the season at the 4:23 mark. At some point during the match, Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov was injured and did not return to the game. He is now listed as OUT indefinitely with a lower body injury. Kucherov missed the entirety of the 2020-21 season, but came back JUST IN TIME for the playoffs, and to win a 2nd Stanley Cup, after spending the season on LTIR to circumvent salary cap restrictions. Washington got another opportunity with the man-advantage at 14:50 with Ondrej Palat in the box for interference, but again failed to convert.
With the score at a 1-1 stalemate at the end of regulation, a five-minute overtime period was needed. Less than 90 seconds into overtime, the Caps got one last power play opportunity (Sergachev; cross-checking) and on a number of occasions, it appeared as though Washington would emerge victorious. However, it was Bolts captain Steven Stamkos who, on a fumbled faceoff, would take the puck from one end to the other and snap the one past Vanecek for the game-winning goal.
Vanecek ended his night with 2 goals allowed on 24 shots, and Bolts’ Vasilevskiy tallied his 2nd win of the season after allowing just one goal on 33 shots.
The Colorado Avalanche also dropped their last game as they fell to the St. Louis Blues, 5-3, on the eve of the Blues season opener. Darcy Kuemper, who was picked up by the Avalanche in a trade that sent Conor Timmins to the Arizona Coyotes, got his 2nd start of the 2021-22 campaign. Just 40 seconds into the first period, Brayden Schenn of the Blues and Nazem Kadri of the Avs dropped the mitts, and were assessed matching fighting majors. At the 4:12 mark, Justin Faulk tallied his first of the season to give the Blues an early 1-0 lead. Colorado got their first power play at the 9:07 mark as Robert Bortuzzo was called for interference. Last season the Avalanche has among the best power plays at home (24.8%).
The second period saw two goals from the Blues, and one from the Avalanche. Eight minutes and 35 seconds into the middle frame, Brayden Schenn scored his first goal of the season to make it 2-0. Then, at the 11:37 mark, David Perron scored to improve the Blues lead to 3-0. Finally, Andre Burakovsky got Colorado on the board with just under six minutes left in the period. There were no penalties to speak of in the 2nd period.
The Avalanche got another chance to score on the power play with Ivan Barbashev in the box for cross-checking. The NHL made it very clear they’d be cracking down on cross-checking penalties this season, and that has been obvious thus far. The Avs did not convert, and instead, David Perron tallied his 2nd goal of the game at the 6:51 mark of the third period. The Blues goal came on the power play as Sampo Ranta was serving an interference penalty. Andre Burakovsky was sent to the penalty box for holding at the 13:45 mark, but it was Tyson Jost who would score a shorthanded goal for the Avs. Then, JT Compher brought Colorado within one at the 16:18 mark, but to the disappointment of the home-team fans, Ryan O’Reilly scored an empty net goal to lift his Blues to a 5-3 win. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on 27 shots for a .852 save percentage.
The Avalanche have confirmed that Nathan Mackinnon will make his season debut tonight, and Jack Johnson will also return to the lineup. Colorado however is still without a number of difference-makers, including Gabriel Landeskog (suspension), Valeri Nichuskhin, Devon Toews, and Pavel Francouz. Landeskog was handed a two-game suspension for boarding Chicago’s Kirby Dach, and is not eligible to play against the Caps.
Kassie’s Noteworthy Remarks
- Alex Ovechkin, with 3 goals in two games, was named the NHL’s 2nd Star of the Week. He will play in his 1200th career game on Tuesday night.
- When asked about who will start between the pipes for Washington, coach Peter Laviolette seemed hesitant to provide details as to when Samsonov will make his season debut, noting that Vanecek has provided the “great goaltending” he is looking for.
- Nathan Mackinnon is not traveling with the team to Washington due to two positive COVID-19 tests.
The Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche will play on Tuesday October 19th, at 7:00 EST, and will be streamed exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu.