Pre-game Musings: Caps and LA Kings

 

GAME TIME IS 7 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 40-10-4

LA Kings 33-19-9

The Washington Capitals and LA Kings, who meet for the first time this season, are top of their divisions and both teams lost their last game—also both away games. That’s where the similarities end. The Caps, as we know, also lead their conference and the league in points. While the Caps held practice on Monday, the Kings had the day off. This is their fifth game of a seven-game road trip in which they have won two and lost two.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick has missed two games and is a day-to-day decision, according to the LA Kings, but could possibly be back the net Tuesday. Jonas Enroth was in the net against the Devils on Sunday. He had 18 saves and gave up the one goal that cost the Kings the game. Peter Budja will most likely back up Enroth is in the net if Quickie is out.

Marion Gaborik was placed on injured reserve February 13 for a possible leg injury he sustained in the Kings OT win over the Rangers. We’ll see on Tuesday if they bring anyone else up. His absence upsets the scoring power of the team.

The Caps on the other hand are looking healthy and there is a hint that Brooks Orpik, who practiced with the team Monday, could be back in his D-man slot. With Jay Beagle nearing his return the only problem Barry  Trotz seems to have is who to play when.

We can expect a bit of an emotional game as Mike Richards and Justin Williams face the teammates that they helped win the Stanley Cup, twice. The LA Times reported that “Stick” had joked that if he and Drew Doughty they ever ended up on opposite sides they would have to drop the gloves. Dewey said Sunday that Williams would have to be the instigator. Richards left the team in a less-than positive atmosphere; however, they were the team he played with from 2011 until terminated in June 2015. Richards has yet to put a goal on the board, but he and Williams bring the Cup-winning maturity to the team.

It’s hard to talk about the Caps without saying the same thing over and over. They have Alex Ovechkin—number one in goals and shots on goal in the NHL. Evgeny Kuznetsov is fifth and Nicklas Backstrom is tied for sixth place with Sydney Crosby in overall points. And of course the winningest goalie this season, Braden Holtby.

TJ We have some concerns about TJ Oshie who hasn’t recorded a goal in his last five games and only has one assist in the same timeframe. His all-time high was in the 2013-14 season with 21 goals and 39 assists. Not panicking yet, but we sure would like to see him get on the board as a first-line guy.

Coach Trotz in his daily presser said he was not too happy with practice today and that there were a few individuals who he felt weren’t “as sharp as they need to be.” When asked by Isabelle Khurshudyan who would be in the as goalie he replied, “a goaltender.” He says Orpik is progressing and when he thinks he is ready he will let the coach know. Orpik later said that he will see how he is doing Tuesday morning before making a decision. When he does return, expect short shifts and a period of time to let his body adjust to playing again.

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Jay Beagle: Yes, he is still injured and not ready yet.

Brooks Orpik We are waiting, waiting, waiting…

Photos by Brittney Marcum

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