The Capitals host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night for their only visit to our nation’s capital this season. The Avalanche sit at 7-10-1 for the season, and kick-off a stretch of 7 games in 13 days away from Denver. This is the longest road trip for the Avs since 2009, when the team embarked on the same length of trip. Puck-drop is 7:00 PM at Verizon Center.
The Capitals swept the season series against the Avalanche last year winning 3-2 in Denver, and 2-1 at the Verizon Center. In the Capitals 3-2 win at the Pepsi Center, Alex Ovechkin had two points and assisted in the (accidental) fracture of Alex Tanguay’s face after Tanguay found himself in the way of an Ovechkin shot attempt.
Tanguay may be currently breathing sigh of relief, as he is out with a knee injury, and did not make the trip to Washington.
In the Capitals 2-1 victory at the Verizon Center, it was Alex Ovechkin again proving to be the difference maker, as his tally on the power play in the second period of this game proved to be the difference maker.
It would seem that last year’s struggles have carried over into this year as well. The Avalanche come to D.C. attempting to find consistency in their game. They have many great young players in Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Matt Duchene, just to name a few. But what comes with that young talent is a battle for consistency.
The Avalanche have also had their concerns between the pipes. Former Cap Seymon Varlamov has been battling a groin injury that has had him in and out of the lineup. As a result, the Avalanche have had to turn to Reto Berra to fill-in with the goaltending duties.
While the Avalanche are trying to find some sort of rhythm as a team with their skaters and goaltenders, there are rumors surrounding Matt Duchene. GM Joe Sakic has stated that if the team does not improve upon its sub .500 record, moves will be made to shake up the team. This is a significant departure from how the Avalanche have conducted personnel issues in the past.
The Capitals enter Saturday’s contest with a record of 12-5-1, 5 points behind the first place New York Rangers. The Caps are in need of a solid win on home ice in order kick-start a rather pedestrian month of November to this point (4-4).
Alex Ovechkin set the NHL record for goals scored by a Russian-born player on Thursday night, in the team’s 3-2 loss to the white-hot Dallas Stars.
By Andrea Sobolik