The New York Rangers slide onto Capitals ice tonight at 7 pm at the Verizon Center. Big game means watching on NHL, CSN, and MSG if you can’t make it there yourself.
The Caps have been front and center in hockey news from Dmitry Orlov’s masterful hip check to Daniel Winnik’s ear nip. They have won three-in-a-row and sit in first place for the division – fourth in the league. One more win and maybe the sports masters will talk about how good the Caps look early in the season.
Your line up tonight presented by Daily Faceoff: Zach Sanford is back in which mean Brett Connolly is out, and Taylor Chorney still hasn’t played yet.
I really was not too impressed with the Caps opening night for a few different reasons. The night seemed to be off to a great start with the red carpet event.
I wasn’t at it my self, but it looked pretty fun and was fairly crowded. Some of the guys’ suites were on point. Oshie was asked by a reporter if he was best dressed – he said, “Not a chance. I would go with Holts or one of the Swedes. They always seem to have something clever in store.”
I jumped on the Metro around 5 and I thought it would be a lot more crowded then it was. I got into the Chinatown area around 5:45 and it still was not too crowded with Caps fans. It made me kind of curious as to what the crowd would be like at the game. There is usually a decent amount of Caps fans around the arena.
I went and grabbed dinner at Vapianos, a fan favorite. When we got there I thought, “So this is where everyone is! The place was packed with Caps fans. Once I finished dinner we went across the street to enter Verizon Center. When we arrived there still were all that many people in the concourse. I headed to my section to watch the Islanders warmups.
I sit in Section 101, right off the visiting’s team bench. When I walked down to the ice there were a few scattered Islander fans. As it came closer to puck drop, I thought surely this place would get at least a little louder.
I was wrong . It was pretty quite.
Even during the player introductions, I was like hmmmm, this was a lot quieter then last year. The game seemed to start pretty slow itself with the Islanders controlling the momentum the first few minutes. As I looked around the stands, some parts were pretty empty. I kept wondering, “What are people doing tonight? The Nats have just been knocked out of the playoff.” I was really starting to wonder where the late arriving crowd was.
Anyway, we finally put up a goal and the place went crazy! Who would have thought Daniel Winnik would score our first goal of the season! A few minutes later Zach Sanford took a god-awful penalty which lead to the Islanders tying it up on the power play. The kid didn’t see much ice time after that.
The Caps were having so many problems with the power play. For some reason Ovi couldn’t catch a pass in his one-time spot and no one could get a shot on net. Other than the Swede line and our 4th line, a lot of the guys looked out of sorts. I barley noticed Oshie or a other key players. We finally scored again and who thought it would be Winnik again??
My overall impression of opening night is I thought it was dull. The building seemed really quite. It was 1-1 for quite sometime and a lot of our guys weren’t playing that well. Also I really was not that impressed with the play of Sanford. I have to wonder how long he’s going to be up here when you have guys like Vrana, Barber, and Galiev waiting in Hershey to be called up. The Caps closed the night out with a 2-1 win and the place quickly emptied out.
Maybe Tuesday night will provide a bolt of energy. I’ll let you know!!
The Washington Capitals posed for Daniel Winnik’s wife Taylor today for the annual Canine Calendar. We’ve seen some of Taylor’s photos on Instagram and think it is great that they are keeping the event in the family!
We grabbed a few shots off IG and Jill Sorenson’s tweets to give you a preview of what’s to come.
Proceeds from the sales (starting in November) will go Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.
Here are some of the highlights from Coach Barry Trotz’s morning press conference.
Same line-up as we saw against the Maple Leafs.
“…is fine. I can see him in the lineup tomorrow.”
“Your are either hurt or injured…right now he is hurt.”
“They are an active D.”
“They have four good lines”
“They fore-check hard”
“Gotta take care of the active D”
If Raanta is in for Lundqvist in the goal:
“Make sure we are getting traffic and putting pucks to the net”
“I don’t think the way we play with Raanta in the net will change.”
Trotz told him he “is not a rental player…here for another year”
“Get fully engaged, immerse yourself”
He will have a “big role in the PK, late games, and the shut down line”
He’s “got a dimension where he can turn something into nothing–where you see some of his goals. But, he can turn nothing into something the other way too. That is where we want to get some balance in his game.”
Click HERE for the complete video from Monumental Network.
By now everyone knows that the Caps traded Brooks Laich and that he, along with D-Man Connor Carrick will be in the Leafs’ line-up tonight. But it is time to move forward and tonight we should see just how this newly adjusted Caps team is doing. They still have the hurdle of the first period slump and the third period comeback to overcome. Coach continues the shifting of lines and though we have some projections, we aren’t really sure it matters much once the game starts. Here’s what to expect:
Caps Line Projections (But don’t hold us to it)
Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
Chimera Johansson Wilson
Winnik Richards Beagle (Galiev/Latta not likely)
We expect Grubauer in tonight backed up by Holtby
What the Leafs Bring
They have a new roster which played together for the first time on Monday. Apparently there is a strange new alliance between Brooks and William Nylander stretching back to Nylander’s dad’s (Michael) time with the Caps. Prediction is that much of this game will be determined by who does better on the power play and power-play kill. The new players make this an unpredictable team.
Soshnikov Kadri Komarov
Grabner Nylander Hyman
Boyes Holland Kapanen
Greening Smith Laich
Bernier expected in the net backed up by Sparks
Don’t forget to check us out later for great game shots on Twitter (incoldplacedc) and Instagram (friendsincoldplaces) AND tune in at 630 pm when we Periscope warmups live from Verizon Center.
Washington and Pittsburg finally meet after the January snowstorm kept the teams from meeting. The Capitals have made a few changes since they played the Blackhawks on Saturday, sending Brooks Laich to Toronto and bringing in Daniel Winnik. General Manager Brian MacLellan describe Winnik as: “A bigger player, a heavier player, a pretty good skater. I would say he’s the equivalent of Brooks Laich, maybe a touch of an upgrade.” Mike Weber should make his debut tonight.
The Pens, who currently sit in the wild card slot, shutout the Arizona Coyotes Monday night with Marc-Andre Flueryin the net. It was Fluery’s fifth shutout for the season and his 43rd career shutout. He is our biggest competition for tonight. At the end of the night Patric Hornqvist had a hat trick, and Sidney Crosbyhad three assists. They played a strong first period, which has been a weak spot for the Caps of late.Pens sit 3-1-1 in their past five road games, according to the NHL.
To the Caps advantage, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky are unstoppable when it comes to creating chances and scoring themselves. And no one in the league is close to the scoring rate of Alex Ovechkin with 40 goals and 10 to set another milestone of 50 goals a season. Regardless, the Caps-Pens match-up is always exciting, sitting on the edge of our seat kind of game.
Caps Forward Lines: based on morning skate
Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
Chimera Johansson Wilson
Beagle Richards Galiev
Braden Holtby Philipp Grubauer
Pittsburgmade a few changes: Sergei Plotnikov was traded to Arizona for minor league forward Matthias Plachta and a 2017 conditional seventh-round pick. ESPN) They also traded Matia Marcantuoni to Arizona for 3 minor leaguers. Neither of these trades will change the makeup of the team.
Kunitz Crosby Hornqvist
Hagelin Malking Kessel
Kuhnhackl Bonino Rust
Wilson Cullen Porter
Marc-Andre Fluery backed up by Jeff Zatkoff
Pascal Dupuis, Ben Lovejoy, Beua Bennett, Eric Fehr, Conor Sheary