The Capitals can win the President’s Trophy tonight with a Dallas Stars loss of any kind, or if the Capitals can register a single point tonight against the Blues. Dallas is in San Jose to take on the Sharks this afternoon (4PM EST), so the Caps could clinch before they take the ice tonight.
This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. St. Louis swept both games last year. Justin Peter’s got the start in net for the Capitals in both games: November 15th in St. Louis and January 2nd at Verizon Center.
Both teams are coming off shutout wins last night, the Blues at home and the Caps on the road. The Capitals held an optional skate this morning at Kettler, with only a handful of players in attendance. The Blues did not hold a morning skate.
Troy Brouwer makes his first return to Verizon Center after being traded to the Blues last summer. The Blues (44-22-9) are riding a bit of a hot streak, winning their last three games and nine of the last 11. The Blue beat The Vancouver Canucks 4-0 last night in St. Louis, becoming the 4th team to clinch playoff spot this season. Brian Elliot pitched his third-straight shutout, stopping all 17 shots he faced last night, and 71 straight for the three-game stretch. However, the Blues announced on Thursday that Jake Allen would get tonight’s start in Washington.
The Capitals (53-15-5) returned from Newark last night after their 1-0 overtime win against the Devils. As per Elias Sports, John Carlson is the first defenseman to score the game winning goal in a 1-0 OT win by the Capitals. Braden Holtby saved 22 of 22 shots he faced last night against the Devils. The Capitals have posted a 28-6-2 record at home this season and have earned a point in 27 of their last 31 games at Verizon Center. Barry Trotz confirmed at his 5:00 PM pre-game presser that Philipp Grubauer would start in goal, and that T.J. Oshie would miss his second consecutive game due to illness.
The Capitals will face the second wild card in the opening round of the playoffs. If the playoffs started today, the Caps would face the Philadelphia Flyers.