Caps VS Sabres, Mike Richards Makes Team Debut 

The Caps left Washington DC on a high with five wins in a row and a grand celebration with their captain, Alex Ovechkin, and his 500th goal. Sprinkle in the two goals and one assist by Evgeny Kuznetsov and the fun of watching Tom Wilson and Karl Alzner score, the team continues to stun and entertain the league. The Caps are going for a third win against Buffalo.

bug richardsMike Richards is in the lineup in favor of Brooks Laich. We will finally get to see his progress and how he meshes with the team.

The Buffalo Sabres on the other hand come home after ending their winning streak of three games having been dealt a loss by the Boston Bruin. They also lost Zemgus Girgensons to an upper body injury which removes him from tonight’s game. The team held an option morning skate with both goalies this morning.

After the last game Braden Holtby said, “We are pretty relentless as a team.” We can expect a physical game Washington scored seven goals against the Buffalo in their first matchup Kuzy is likely to have another great showing—as he did the last time the two teams met. Buffalo for its part just needs a win at this point as they just to keep out of bottom place in the league.

buf kuzy
Kuzy all smiles with his great success!!

GAME TIME IS 5pm

Your Projected Lineup for Tonight

 

Michael Latta back in the line-up tonight
 

Ovechkin         Backstrom       Oshie

Burakovsky     Kuznetsov       Williams

Chimera           Johansson        Wilson

Sill                      Richards            Latta       

Defenseman Parings

Alzner             Niskanen

Schmidt           Orlov

Ness                Chorney

Braden Holtby in the net.

Kuznetsov and Backstrom lead the team in overall points at 41 each.

Ovechkin leads the team with 26 goals. Kuznetsov follows with 15 goals.

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Jay Beagle: last time the Caps played Buffalo, Jay left with an injured hand from which he continues to recover. We don’t expect him for another four or five weeks. Even Beags is skating now and working with the trainers before practice starts.

John Carlson is still day-to-day. He is skating before team practice. Should be back before the All Stars. He did not travel with the team to Buffalo.

Brooks Orpik is on the Long-term Injured Reserve list for an undisclosed injury. Like John, should be back before the All Stars. He did not travel with the team to Buffalo.

Stanislav Galiev- Healthy Scratch 

Brooks Laich- Healthy Scratch 

The Sabres: May have game-time changes.

Kane                O’Reilly          McGinn

Gionta              Eichel              Reinhart

Foligno            Larsson            Varone

Moulson          Schaller           Legwand

Defensemen Pairings

Gorges             Ristolainen

Pysyk           Bogosian

Weber              Franson

Goalies: Chad Johnson likely to get the start. Robin Lehner backing him up. We have reports on both goalies. We will see at 5 who is in the net for sure.

O’Reilly leads the team with 37 points and Ristolainen following with 28 points.

O’Reilly also leads the team in goals at 17 followed by Eichel with 13.

More Milestones Coming:

Jason Chimera is ONE assist away from an NHL career 200 assists.

Michael Latta is two games away from 100 NHL games played

Karl Alzner, the Iron Man, is three points away from 100 NHL points and five games short of passing Bob Carpenter (422) for the longest consecutive games played in franchise history.
Next Games and Practices

Jan 17: 5pm Rangers at Verizon Center

Jan 18: The team is off for Monday

Jan 19: 11:30 Morning Skate at Nationwide Arena, Columbus

Jan 19: 7pm Game at Columbus Blue Jackets – CSN

Caps Daily Glass Bump: Pregame 30 December 2015

dec30 holtby out
The Holtbeast looking on as team gets final words of encouragement.

 

Caps-Sabres Round Two

Photos by Brittney Marcum

The Capitals extended their winning streak to eight when we last met the Buffalo Sabres. One of the keys to the Capitals’ success in Buffalo was their penalty kill. Much of that credit goes to Braden Holtby but the defense really stepped up in light of missing John Carlson for the night.

Michael Latta left the ice after a fight on Monday and was seen with his arm in a sling. No sling Tuesday night when he, Nate Schmidt, and Tom Wilson took in a movie; however, he did take morning skate. He is listed day-to-day.

dec30 zach sillZach Sill was recalled from the Hershey Bears on Tuesday. Zach has two goals and five assists in 28 games played in Chocolate Town along with 28 penalty minutes. He will fit in nicely with the Caps fourth line as he steps in for the ailing Latta.

John Carlson did not skate this morning and looks to be a scratch for tonight.

Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 18 goals. He is now just seven goals away from 500 NHL career goals.

Nicklas Backstrom leads the team with 32 points and 22 assists. He made an awesome pass to Ovi resulting in the first goal of the game on Monday.

Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (23) and goals against average (1.86) He remains the only goalie in the NHL with 20 wins or more. He is inching closer to overtaking former Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth lead in save percentage with a rate of 0.935 to Neuvy’s 0.937

Backup goaltender Philip Grubauer in the seven games he has been in the net has four wins, two losses, and an OT loss. He should be strong in the net against the Sabres should Trotz give him the opportunity. A goalie has not been announced for tonight’s game at time of posting.

Brooks Laich and Andre Burakovsky still haven’t been producing as of late, but the fourth line looked strong Monday, although none of them actually had any shots. Maybe Sill will help turn that tide.  dec30 burky

Sabre Watch

The Sabres ended their practice Tuesday with a shootout drill. Are they anticipating a close game on Wednesday? They had two near misses on Monday and the potential for a tie game is fairly high if they can get the puck in the net without a collision with the goalie!

Coach Bylsma in his presser Tuesday said that the team keeps work on improving their passing and they “threw a different drill at them today to sharpen the decision-making and execution.” They also drilled on playing the walls which was missing in the game against the Caps.

Rookie center Jack Eichel, the darling of the Sabres, had some great moves in his game against the Caps. Even so, his four shots failed to light the lamp.

Nicolas Deslauriers is likely to have the attention of Caps players given his run in with Williams and fight with Latta.

Center Ryan O’Reilly (90) could pose a threat to the Caps even though he was sluggish on Monday. He ranks first in goals and points (32) for the team as a whole. He has also had two GWG’s (Game winning goals) so far this year.

Evander Kane (9) was stymied by Braden Holtby and while he had four shots Monday, he still has been unable to break his goal scoring drought. He will certainly want to make good on his attempts tonight.

Goalie Watch: All three goalies practice on Tuesday. No word yet who will be in the net.

Linus Ullmark only let in two shot out of 26 on Monday against the Caps. He has lost more games than he has won so far this season.

Chad Johnson had 30 saves on 33 shots against the Bruins the last time he played. He has a .918 save percentage. In his last 5 games he’s had three regulation wins, one regulation loss and one loss in OT.

Goaltender Robin Lehner has been out since he was injured in the first game of the season. He participated in practice Tuesday but still has no timetable for his return.

Fight Potential: Given the atmosphere on Monday, we rate the fight potential HIGH. When it comes to major penalties for fighting Washington has 10 while Buffalo has 7 Additionally, the Caps average .29 fights per game compared to the Sabres’ .19. Josh Gorges leads the Sabres in penalty minutes at 44. Eyes on Evander Kane and Nicolas Deslauriers to instigate.

Practice Shots: Caps held morning skate at Kettler Ice plex this morning. Our parting gift to you is the darling of the Caps: Evgeny Kutznesov.  dec30

Coming Up:

Caps-Hurricanes in Raleigh. Game time 7pm on CSN-DC

Caps-Sabres Recap

Some Blood, Some Fighting, & a Shutout  Get the Caps Eight Straight

win john

This game was the start of a home-and-home for the Capitals and Sabres this week. Before the game would start news hit that John Carlson’s “iron-man” streak ends at 412 games as he sat out this game with a lower-body injury. Connor Carrick would get his first NHL start this season as his replacement.

FIRST PERIOD:

The first period was hard fought by both sides with the shots pretty much even (WSH- 9, BUF-10). The fourth line, Andre Burakovsky, Michael Latta, and Brooks Laich had some nice shifts. Caps went on the powerplay when Mike Weber was sent to the box with an interference call at 5:17 but the Caps failed to score on the opportunity. The period would end scoreless.

SECOND PERIOD:

win ovi

 

The second period began with a bang when Ovi scored just 19 seconds in assisted by line mates Backstrom and Oshie.

 

Justin Williams took a hit from Nicholas Deslauriers, one with a stick to the face that would draw blood but no penalties. In an attempt to even the score, Michael Latta and Deslauriers drop the gloves at the 10:49 mark of the second period. Latta left the ice injured and would not return to the game, he was seen in a sling after the game and Barry Trotz specified it was an injury to his arm. Deslauriers, as he was heading to the penalty box, jubilantly waves his arms and screams to the crowd.

At the 12:55 mark in the second period, Jay Beagle doubles the Caps lead, 2-0. Per Isabelle Khurshudyan, the Caps are 21-0-5 lifetime when Beagle scores.

win beagle

THIRD PERIOD:

The Sabres would pull goaltender Linus Ullmark for the extra attacker with 1:30 left in the game. Holtby shows the Sabres why he is the best goalie in the league right now with an unbelievable save on Evander Kane. Caps win 2-0, their eighth straight victory and a shutout for the Holtbeast, just his second this season.

The Caps penalty kill was spotless during the game, including once during the third when Tom Wilson went to the box for an interference call. Sabres would have two disallowed, the second one would be due to contact by Tyler Ennis when he pushed goaltender Braden Holtby into his own net. A slightly winded Holtby had to catch his breath while Caps fans collectively held their breath while the play was challenged by Dan Bylsma.

Well wishes to both Carly and Latts for a speedy recovery!

 

UPDATE: Caps Daily Glass Bump: Pregame 28 December 2015

Caps-Sabres Pre-game, Practice photos, and Evander Kane (Updates in Red)

Photos by Brittney Marcum

sab coachThe Capitals extended their winning streak to seven on Saturday night in Washington. After a tough practice at Kettler on Sunday they flew up to Buffalo to settle in before meeting the Sabres tonight. The Caps have won three of their last four games against the Sabres.

Things in Buffalo exploded late Sunday with news that left wing Evander Kane is under investigation for an alleged sexual assault. The team confirmed the allegations although no formal charges have been filed yet. As the investigation is in the early stages, it is likely that the team will be somewhat unsettled in the locker room. No word as we go to press, if Kane, who has eight goals and five assists in 25 games, will play tonight. It was reported this morning by multiple sources that Kane DID in fact participate in morning skate. (11 am) Kane issued a statement from the Sabres locker room saying he “has done nothing wrong.” As of now (12:30) he remains on the roster for tonight.

Line up appears to be the same. If Carlson is out (see below) Connor Carrick will step in.

The Caps are averaging 3.1 goals a game, second in the league.

Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 17 goals. He hasn’t lit the lamp in his last two games. He did take a puck to the forearm from Matt Niskanen but looked good skating on Sunday.  sab ovi

Nicklas Backstrom leads the team with 31 points and 21 assists.

John Carlson per Isabelle Khurshudyan (WashPost), did not skate at practice this morning. It is unclear if he will be in tonight. This would be his first game missed in over 400 games. He continues to rack up the assists and goals with 27 points this season. He is on track to reach or top his 2014 season high of 55 points. John took a maintenance day on Sunday and did not skate.  Carlson is tied for fifth in the NHL in road assists (12) and Karl Alzner ranks tied for fifth in plus/minus (+11) on the road. (CapsToday)

Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (22) and goals against average (1.92) He is the only goalie in the league with 20 wins or more. Sabres’ goaltender Chad Johnson sits well below in 23rd place with 10 wins in 23 games.

Philip Grubauer in the seven games he has been in the net has four wins, two losses, and an OT loss. He should be strong in the net against the Sabres should Trotz give him the opportunity. A goalie has not been announced for tonight’s game at time of posting.

sab laich burkyBrooks Laich and Andre Burkovsky haven’t scored a goal on the fourth line in a while, but along with Michael Latta they are shooting at every opportunity. Maybe they will break their goal drought tonight.

Alex Ovechkin is eight goals away from 500 NHL career goals.

Fight Potential: When it comes to major penalties for fighting, the Caps have 9 penalties compared to the Sabres’ six.sab wilson

 

 

Practice Shots: Caps took practice at Kettler Iceplex on Saturday. Here are some great shots of the Trotz’ Smiling Boys.

Coming Up:

Caps Practice at Kettler Ice Plex Tuesday 1230

Caps-Sabres at home. Game time 7pm on CSN-DC

Caps Morning Skate at Kettler Ice Plex  Wednesday 1015

Caps-Hurricanes in Raleigh. Game time 7pm on CSN-DC