The Vancouver Canucks weapon in its last game against the Washington Capitals was goalie Ryan Miller. It took Alex Ovechkin four attempts before he finally got a puck past Ryan to take the lead in the third period. At the other end of the ice, Caps own secret weapon, Braden Holtby had 23 saves. It was the magic duo of Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle that caused the most problems for the Canucks. Unfortunately, half of that team will be missing Thursday night.
The Caps are on another winning streak (4) and coming off the high of celebrating Ovi’s 500th goal. IMPORTANT: Caps to honor Ovechkin during a pre-game ceremony tonight at 7:00pm. They have a lot to celebrate beyond their captain’s success. They are number one in the NHL, number one in the Metropolitan Division, number one in the Eastern Conference. Alex Ovechkin is the league leader in goals with 26 and Braden Holtby leads in number of wins (27). They have had a three-day game break with two days of hard core practice.
Marcus Johansson returns after his two-game suspension. We assume he is still in the center spot which has served the team well in Jay Beagle’s absence.
As of now Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, and Michael Latta are expected to be in the lineup Thursday despite each of them have a few ‘tweeks’ over the past few days. That is unless Latts is a healthy scratch and Stan Galiev is in. Check with us as we get closer to puck drop.
Jay Beagle is recovering nicely from hand surgery. He remains on the injured reserve list and has another five weeks to go before he can skate with the team. He has missed six games.
John Carlson is still day-to-day but he has been skating in the morning before practice. Not sure when he will rejoin the team .
Brooks Orpik is on the Long-term Injured Reserve list for an undisclosed injury. He has missed 28 games and there is no timetable for his return to the game but he has begun to skate with Carlson before practice.
Mike Richards is skating with the team during practice and getting his legs and strength back. Caps announced that he will play a game before the All-Star break.
At the mid-season point the Canucks are fighting to win a few more games and get above the line for at least a wild card spot as we get closer to the playoffs. They come to Washington with a 17-16-10. As Coach Trotz has said, “They come hard. They’re a hard team, forecheck hard they’ve got a good power play.” As a team that is jockeying for a spot in the Pacific Division, the Caps can’t afford to underestimate the Nucks or to be complacent.
Ryan Miller is expected to return to the net after a groin injury that sidelined him on December 20.
Daniel Sedin (22) ranks 11th overall with 19 goals and 21 assists. His brother Henrik Sedin (33) is eighth in the league in terms of assists with 27. Daniel scored two goals in his last game and Henrik had two assists.