The Pregame: Caps Gear Up for Saturday Night Metro Clash vs. Blue Jackets

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MEDSTAR CAPITALS ICEPLEX – The Washington Capitals are back home after a brief stop in Boston where they took care of business. Now their focus turns towards tonight’s game. A rematch from last year’s first round of the playoffs that the Caps rallied from 2-0 down, the first step on their road to championship glory. It is also a key game in the Metropolitan Division. The Caps are vying for their fourth win in a row. 

CAPS MORNING LINES

THE MATCHUP

The Capitals and Blue Jackets meet on Saturday night at Capital One Arena for their third of four meetings this season. Washington defeated Columbus at Nationwide Arena last month 4-0 on Dec. 8. The Blue Jackets won the first meeting in the District on Nov. 9 by a final of 2-1. The Capitals are 12-3-1-2 all-time at Capital One Arena and 24-9-1-4 overall against the CBJ.

Braden Holtby will get the start in goal for the Caps. Against the Bruins on Thursday, the Holtbeast stopped 39 of the 41 shots that he faced. In his last two games, including Sunday’s win over Detroit, Holtby has stopped 62 of the last 66 shots he’s faced. Holtby leads all goaltenders with 14 wins (14-4-1) against Eastern Conference opponents with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. Holtby will represent the Capitals at the NHL All-Star Game.

This game is always a good matchup because it’s two Vezina Trophy winners going head-to-head but lately there’s been drama up in Columbus for their star goalie Sergei Bobrovski. The other day, the Blue Jackets issued a statement saying Bobrovsky wouldn’t play against Nashville and that he was pseudo-suspended by teammates for failing to meet culture “expectations and values.”

That issue has since been resolved and he traveled with the team to Washington. The Blue Jackets didn’t have a morning skate but after the Caps left the ice, Bobrovsky came out. It remains to be seen as to whether or not he starts.

Columbus sits five points behind the Caps with a 25-15-3 (53 points) record. They defeated the Predators that night without Bobrovsky 4-3.

CAPS FACTS

  • Brooks Orpik will play in his 999th NHL game tonight.
  • T.J. Oshie will play in his 698th NHL game tonight.
  • Alex Ovechkin registered his 128th multi-goal game on Thursday against the Boston Bruins to boost his career point total to 1,171 (639 goals, 532 assists), and surpass Bobby Hull for sole possession of 50th place on the NHL’s all-time points list.
  • Jakub Vrana scored the game’s first goal against the Bruins on Thursday which marked the seventh time the V has scored the Caps’ first goal of the game, which is the most on the team.
  • Vrana is second to Ovechkin (32) on the team with goals, with 15.
  • After recording two assists against the B’s on Thursday, T.J. Oshie has four points (two goals, two assists) in two games.

CAPS LINKS

Caps Defeat Bruins 4-2 to Win 3rd in a Row
There was a War of Words after Caps-Bruins Game Between Lars Eller and Brad Marchand
Devante Smith-Pelly and John Carlson Invite Youth Hockey Team to Caps Game for Sticking It to Racism
Game Notes
Caps Host Metro Clash with Columbus by Mike Vogel
John Walton: The man behind the mic for the Capitals by Chris Kuc/The Athletic
Capitals don’t see big weaknesses to be addressed before Trade Deadline by Tom Gulitti/NHL.com

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