This is the second and final regular season match up between the Los Angeles Kings and the Washington Capitals. The Capitals took the first game against the Kings by a score of 3-1 on February 16 at Verizon Center.
Your confirmed goaltending match up for this evening is Braden Holtby against Jonathan Quick. Holtby continues to prove he is one of the best goalies currently playing. As it stands right now Holtby has 41 wins, seven away from tying and eight from becoming the new record holder for most wins in a single regular season as a starter(48) which currently sits with the great New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.
The Capitals are currently in the drivers seat and have complete control over the Metropolitan Division and the league with 102 points; 14 points ahead of the second place Dallas Stars, who have captured 88 points. I know most Caps fans have fear and concern in their minds because the Caps are playing so well and their playoff history makes it hard to be confident.
But look at the team now compared to every year before this season. Now tell me, when at ANY point has ANY hockey team looked as good as the 2015-16 Washington Capitals? The team is winning and is strong and confident. The community support for the Caps and the team’s support for the community is at an all time high. If that doesn’t motivate a professional athlete, then I don’t know what does.
The goalie is the key to a teams success. They are the fuel for the team. Without them, the team doesn’t run. Holtby has helped this team get to where they are now. It’s time for this team to finish the season strong and be ready for playoffs. Things will change when the playoffs start but the Caps should be ready this time. With veteran presence and the team in the top five of nearly every statistical category, Caps fans should be ready for a different type of playoff team come April.
This story is written in memory of the recently fallen Officer Ashley Guindon of the Prince William county police department, Her sacrifice and dedication haven’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated. Thank You to all the brave men and woman who work endlessly to keep to community safe!
Social media and the press are buzzing about the ’emotional’ return of Justin Williams and Mike Richards to Los Angeles when the Washington Capitals meet the Kings at Staples Center tonight. Having just gone through the emotional visit of Brooks Laich when his new team played at Verizon, we get the buzz.
However, we think the emotion is heavier on Kings fans than on our boys. Lets not forget that J-Willy left LA because he was ready for a change. And we know the unfortunate circumstances that brought Richards to the AHL and eventually to the Caps franchise. Both these guys won the Stanley Cup with the Kings and so there is a certain pride from the LA fans that goes along with their ‘homecoming.’ And we know that there are some long-standing friendships–Justin had dinner with Anze Kopitar when the Kings were in D.C. last February.
Williams told reporters this week: “I don’t like thinking about it because that’s looking back and I find the best way to move on is to think about the future and the present.” That’s what makes him the kind of leader the Caps have embraced.
We would say though, that both these guys are right at home in D.C…just look at these happy faces!!
So we will go along with the hype about their emotional return but at the end of the day, we expect Willy and Richie to show them which team has their allegiance today!!
The Washington Capitals are enjoying sunny southern California and tonight they meet the Pacific Division second place team—the Los Angeles Kings. We will be looking for some consistency in the lines now that Trotz’s Boyz have had a few games to settle into a new rhythm.
The Kings have been fighting the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks (SJS) for first place in the division. The Ducks have a narrow lead with one point after an OT loss to the Caps on Monday. The Sharks are two points behind and the Caps meet them Saturday night. Given the in-division fighting, the league-leading Caps should expect a tough game as the Kings want to be the sole owners of the Pacific.
The Caps, though secure in their lead, can’t become complacent at this stage of the game. So far they have two OT wins on this road trip. They need a couple more regulation wins to get back in the winning grove we saw before the snowstorm and All-Star game slowed their momentum.
Philipp Grubauer was in the net when the Kings visited Washington in February and he made an amazing 39 saves to bring a 3-1 win over LA. In that match up, Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Jason Chimera recorded goals.
Justin Williams has been inspiring the Caps players in and out of the locker room. He, along with Mike Richards, make their first return to LA since they left the team. Both are likely to leave their mark on their former teammates before the night is over.
Brooks Oprik made his injury comeback during the last game against the Kings and also earned his first assist since returning.
Expect Braden Holtby in the net tonight. He is coming off his 41st win of the season in Anaheim, seven shy of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur’s all-time record 48 wins in 2006-2007.
LA Kings Pregame
The Kings are one of the most cohesive playing teams in the league. It is a thing of beauty to watch their line changes, their ability to read one another, and their power on the ice. That means the Caps need to find a way to undermine this multiple Stanley Cup winning team. Staples Center is always full of energy and the Caps will need to keep those voices out of the their heads on the ice. Kings made some line changes on Monday night which helped edge out the Canucks.
Anze Kopitar scored a short-handed goal against the Caps in February. He is one of the most versatile and powerful players on the Kings team. He leads the team in points at 58.
Milan Lucic has found new life, recording two goals against the Canucks, bringing his NHL career total goals to 300. He was moved from center to left wing for that run. Meanwhile, Tyler Troffoli has been quiet in his last five game with zero points.