Wednesday night’s game was one to remember for many reasons. It was like the game of the year for me, even though we lost. Capital One Arena was lit all night starting with people waiting to get in from outside the arena. Continue reading “Vrana Fights and Shocks Us All”
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.
Zach 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.
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.
Caps-Hurricanes in Raleigh. Game time 7pm on CSN-DC
Some Blood, Some Fighting, & a Shutout Get the Caps Eight Straight
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.
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.
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.
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!