Let’s Dance: Struggling Canucks Square Off With the Surging Caps

canucks-capitals

Let’s Dance!  That phrase sums up what Capitals fans are feeling worldwide.  R.I.P. David Bowie.  You will be missed by many.

The Washington Capitals keep rolling along as the best team in the NHL.  With 32 wins in 42 games, there is very little weakness with the best Capitals club in franchise history.  The Capitals have shown that they can win a lot of games in a variety of ways.  They can win with their great goaltending from Braden Holtby, they can win with Alex Ovechkin who leads the NHL goal scoring race (again), and they can win with all of the contributions that come from their depth guys.

With 4 straight wins and a little bit of time off, the Capitals will face off against the struggling Vancouver Canucks, who are hanging on by a thread in the Pacific Division.

SERIES FLASHBACK
The Capitals and Canucks had their first meeting of the season back on October 22.  The Capitals won that game 3-2, off of Alex Ovechkin’s game-winning goal:

This is the second and final meeting of the regular season between the Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals.

SIZING UP THE OPPONENT: VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Age is only just a number, according to 35-year old twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin.  When the Sedins are on a roll, the Canucks are on a roll.  In a recent game, Daniel Sedin lost some teeth against the Arizona Coyotes, but came back to score a goal in the game.

(Hockey players…)

The Vancouver Canucks are a bit of a one-trick pony right now.  Henrik and Daniel Sedin keep the Canucks around and in contention while the club is in a transition period.  The Canucks are trying to get younger and faster, while they try to remain a playoff team.

With the NHL’s pity-point system, the Canucks have hung on to the third spot in the weak Pacific Division for a while now.

Earlier this week, the Canucks made a move to try to increase their youthful depth as they traded for Rangers forward Emerson Etem.  Etem has struggled to find consistency at the NHL level, but is still at a fairly young age and worth a gamble.

Former Sabres netminder and Capitals adversary Ryan Miller has been out of action since December 20th with injury.  Backup Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom has filled the void well, but Miller is getting close to his lineup return.  It is possible Miller could be back in time to face the Capitals on Thursday night.

WAVE TO THE GOOD GUYS: WASHINGTON CAPITALS

It was a magical Sunday night at the Verizon Center for Ovechkin’s 500th goal celebration.  The fans brought the playoff atmosphere and intensity to Verizon Center.  The Capitals bench cleared for the Capitals Captain as he scored the milestone goal.  Ovechkin also scored his 501st career goal in the game to add the cherry on top.

The Capitals made the end of Sunday’s game against Ottawa look like a scrimmage.  The Capitals were fast on the puck and won every race.  Alex Ovechkin made Ottawa All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson look silly on his 2nd goal of the evening.

The Ovechkin celebration was fun while it lasted, and the Capitals remain focused as a club.  The Caps are tops in a lot of categories, and they have remained strong even with some lineup injuries.

It is still a mystery with John Carlson and Brooks Orpik in regards to their injuries, but it sounds like both should be back soon.  The Capitals will get Marcus Johansson back in to the lineup after he served a 2-game suspension.  Andre Burakovsky might be day-to-day after he took a rough tumble into the boards against Ottawa.

STANDINGS UPDATE

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NETWORK INFORMATION
Thursday, January 14, 2016 – CSN-DC; SN-360; 7 PM ET

PROJECTED LINEUPS
CaptureVancouver Canucks
Forwards:
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alex Burrows
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Radim Vrbata
Brandon Prust – Jared McCann – Derek Dorsett
Emerson Etem – Linden Vey – Jake Virtanen

Defensemen:
Alexander Edler – Christopher Tanev
Matt Bartkowski – Alex Biega
Ben Hutton – Yannick Weber

Goaltenders:
Ryan Miller
Jacob Markstrom

CaptureWashington Capitals
Forwards:
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams
Jason Chimera – Marcus Johansson – Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich – Zach Sill – Stanislav Galiev

Defensemen:
Nate Schmidt – Dmitry Orlov
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Aaron Ness – Taylor Chorney

Goaltenders:
Braden Holtby
Philipp Grubauer

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT
Canucks – Bo Horvat: The 20-year old London, Ontario native has caught fire in recent Canucks games.  He has anchored the Canucks 2nd line for most of the season.  Horvat and linemate Sven Baertschi have shown some chemistry over the past few weeks and it continues to grow.  While Horvat has been snake bitten in his sophomore season, he gets plenty of chances and does not mind taking the puck hard to net.

Capitals – Alex Ovechkin: The Capitals Captain is coming off a milestone game and leads the NHL goal race.  He has 26 goals on the season and has 5 points in his last 3 games.  Could another Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy be coming for Alex?  Sure, why not.  It was great to see Ovechkin and his teammates celebrate at center ice after his 500th career goal.  It is something that is not seen everyday in the NHL.  The Capitals best player in franchise history still has a long way to go in his career, and Sunday is a day that will always be remembered in Washington D.C.

By George Foussekis

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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1 Response to Let’s Dance: Struggling Canucks Square Off With the Surging Caps

  1. Pingback: Washington Capitals Daily Report (01/14/2016) | NoVa Caps

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