Carolina Hurricanes (36-10-8 80pts) v.s Washington Capitals (28-23-6 62pts)
Who’s ready for some more outdoor hockey? Get ready because we are twenty four hours away from an exciting matchup as the Carolina Hurricanes host the Washington Capitals at Carter-Finley Stadium, the home of College Football’s NC State in Raleigh, North Carolina.
It’s always exciting whether you’re a hockey player or a fan when you take hockey back to its roots by playing the game where it started and was created…the outdoors. The NHL has done such a great job with the outdoor games going all the way back to the first Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres in 2008. As far as the Stadium Series game, it was introduced back in 2014 as we saw the Los Angeles Kings host the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium.
Let’s take a look at our two participants in the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes heading into this Stadium Series matchup:
The Caps have been struggling a bit as of late with three straight losses in regulation after their victory over the league leading Boston Bruins last Saturday. Washington has been having challenges lately with scoring at even strength and on the power play. To be fair, some of those struggles come from injuries and absences to key players which has been the case a lot this season.
Unfortunately for the Capitals, they will be without their captain and leading scorer Alex Ovechkin for the Stadium Series as he grieves the loss of his father who passed away recently. We all send Alex Ovechkin and his family nothing but comfort and strength during this difficult time. Despite their recent struggles, this is a team that has players that have experience playing in an outdoor game. I expect the Caps to draw back on those experiences as well as the fact that games like these tend to bring out the best in teams and they will find a way to step up their game.
It’s been a very good season so far for the Hurricanes as they have the second bast record in the NHL (36-10-8 80pts) and are trying to chase down the Boston Bruins for the league’s top spot. After having their seven game win streak snapped at the hand of the New York Rangers, Carolina got right back to their winning ways winning twice this week and defeating their Stadium Series opponent in the Capitals 3-2.
This will be Carolina’s first experience with playing in an outdoor game. You can say it’s just another game, but this really isn’t just another game. Whether it’s the Winter Classic or a Stadium Series game, it’s definitely something special and much more than just a regular season game. It’ll be interesting to see how the Canes handle everything that comes with this and being the hosts of a game of this magnitude. Carolina is one of the best teams in the league and I’m sure they’ll play well in front of their fans.
I see the Capitals winning in a close one by a score of 3-2 this time instead of the Hurricanes. Predicting right here that Nicklas Backstrom will get the game winner for Washington. The Caps have experience in outdoor games (3-0-0 record in outdoor games) and I expect them to use that to pull off the victory here. I am also predicting that overall, this is going to be a very fun event to be a part of no matter what the result will be, and I’m excited to be there in person to watch and cover this game. Stay tuned for more Stadium Series coverage from me here at TXHT!
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