Flyers and Caps Back After the Blizzard

PUCK-DROP IS 8:00 PM TONIGHT!!!

The Washington Capitals return to the ice after being snowed out of two games (Anaheim and Pittsburgh)  this weekend. The Flyers missed their game against the Islanders and then proceeded to lose to the Bruins on Monday.  The Caps have won their last two games while the Flyers have lost their last three. This is the last game for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Caps remain in the solid lead for the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. With 46 games played they have 73 points, technically three points ahead of the Blackhawks with 70 points. The Hawks have played 52 games so the Caps have a lock on first place going into the break.

Michal Neuvirth is the projected goalie for this match, the second this season between Washington and Philadelphia. Read our column from January 25 about Neuvy and his journey from DC to Philly. He was reportedly moving slowly after the Monday game but has said he is fine at practice on Tuesday. Steve Mason missed his second day of practice following “maintenance day” on Monday.

Injury Report

Everyone is holding their breath in anticipation that John Carlson could play on Wednesday.  He has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury and has skated with the team during practice for the past week.

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John Carlson looked solid this morning

Brooks Orpik continues to skate before the team practice and is working with trainers to prepare for his return. Coach Trotz had hoped Brooks would be back before the All Stars but it looks more likely that he will return after the break. He has missed 32 games.

Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another three weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He too is skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 10 games.

Caps Roll Call

Braden Holtby, who leads the league in wins (30), is expected to be defending the crease on Wednesday. His 2.01 goals against average ranks third in the league. Backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence. He has had to step in for Holtby in recent games.

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That is one happy Holtbeast

Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov were the stars of the game against the Blue Jackets. Nicky had three shots that brought two goals for the team while Kuzy had four assists that contributed to the team’s 6-3 win. We can expect more WOW moments from both these guys on Wednesday.

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Nicky zeroed in on the bench before practice

It’s hard to single out potential stars for Wednesday when this is a team in which everyone contributes to its success. Keep an eye on Jason Chimera, simply because…he is amazing!

Extra Photos from practice:

Upcoming Milestones

Karl Alzner, the Iron Man, is three points away from 100 NHL points and with this game passes Bob Carpenter (422) for the longest consecutive games played in franchise history.

Nicklas Backstrom with three goals will pass Kelly Miller (162) for the 12th place of Capitals goals scored

Flyers Watch

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers in overall points (37) with 14 goals and 23 assists. He was scoreless against Boston on Monday; however, he has tallied two goals and two assist in his last five games.

Jakub Voracek has been leading the team in the past five games in points (5) with one goals and four assists.

Wayne Simmonds was the first star of the game against Boston, despite the loss. He had nine shots with the two goals scored by the Flyers. Keep a watch on him in the scoring zone.

Coming Up:

Jan 27  Morning Skate at 10:15 am

Jan 27  Philadelphia at 8 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 2   Panthers at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 4   NY Islanders at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Photos by Brittney Marcum

Caps Daily Glass Bump: Keeping it Positive

New Start for Caps

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The Washington Capitals ended their third winning streak this season as 2015 came to a close. Let us not lose faith though—it had to happen sooner or later. A nine-game streak is worth celebrating and it is not time to raise the panic flag yet.

The Caps have taken a bruising the past few games. Players have been on and off the injury list. Thankfully, only two are on the injured reserve and long-term injured reserve. Although we don’t know the full extent of Brooks Orpik or Jay Beagle’s injuries, we can hope that they are on the road to recovery and will join the team before too long.

Beagle is having surgery according to Coach Trotz and has been placed on the injured reserve list. No timetable for his return.

John Carlson could be back in a few days, according to comments from Coach.

Meanwhile, Trotz’s Boys are up in Columbus, Ohio taking a day to rest before they look to resume their winning posture.

On the Bright Side

Standings: The Caps are first in the Metropolitan Division. They are first in the Eastern Conference. They are a close (1 point) second in the NHL. They have a healthy lead in the division and conference.

Team: Coach Trotz has molded this team into just that: a team that plays well together and that supports one another. It isn’t a matter of one shining star but of many who step forward to share the responsibility for winning.

Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 21 goals and is four away from 500 NHL career goals. He is fifth in the NHL.

Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (24). His 1.86 goals against average is second in the league. He’s got this! And backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence.

Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetzov are assist masters. Each has 22 assists and 11 goals. They are creating opportunities every shift for the top line to score while scoring themselves as well.

Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie, and Marcus Johansson round out the top six with a fighting drive to get to the net and score. Williams and Oshie have 24 points and MoJo has 22.

Jason Chimera has notched 10 goals this season making him part of the six with double-digit goals. Although Tom Wilson only has two goals in his column, there is no denying the presence he brings to ice and the way in which he excites the team and the crowds. The hole on this line clearly is Jay Beagle, yet the team managed to fill the gap with Michael Latta and Zach Sill. Sill seems to be a great fit for now, regardless of which line he plays.

Andre Burakovsky finally broke through and scored a goal during the game in Buffalo. The fourth line, with Brooks Laich and Michael Latta looked strong on Thursday—each with shots on goal that came close to getting around the net minder.

Defense: The loss of John Carlson could be seen on Thursday. Carlson brings something more to the game than just the 27 points he is carrying—he brings real leadership too. It is less clear what coach will do with the partnering of defensemen and the temporary replacement of Carlson on Saturday. They were not all that the team needed on Thursday and hopefully they will get back in the groove and hopefully Carly will return strong and healthy against Boston.

Bottom line: The Caps are still a strong team. They still want to win. The word most tossed around after the coach’s presser is “resilience.” They have a commitment not to lose two straight games and they have the desire to go for another winning streak. This is a team hungry to win and we can expect to see more good things in the days ahead.

Coming Up:

Holtby, with 125 career games won is four games away from passing Don Beaupre (128) for second place on the Caps franchise list.

Sat Jan 2, 2016 Capitals Blue Jackets, 7:00 PM CSN-DC

Tue Jan 5, 2016 Capitals Bruins, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS

Thu Jan 7, 2016 Capitals Islanders, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS, SN360

Sat Jan 9, 2016 Capitals Rangers, 1:00 PM CSN-DC, SNE, SNO, SNP

Photos by Brittney Marcum