Game Preview: Avalanche @ Capitals


The Washington Capitals host the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at Verizon Center. Puck-drop is 7:00pm and will be televised by CSN. 

The Capitals defeated the Islanders 2-1 on Saturday in their 2016-17 home opener. Daniel Winnik scored two goals, marking his fifth career multi-goal game and his second multi-goal game with Washington. Winnik has scored a total of four goals as a Washington Capital, and done all of the scoring in just two games.

The Capitals are now 14-2-1-1 on opening night at Verizon Center. A vast improvement over the 12-13-1 record amassed at the Capital Centre/US Air Arena.

The Avalanche will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set, having faced the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Monday night. The Avs beat the Penguins 4-3 in overtime, improving their record to 2-0-0 and raising their total goals scored to 10 for the first two games of the season.

The Avs game against the Capitals is the second game of a four-game eastern swing for Colorado. The eastern swing, coupled with a five-day break following their return to Denver, have the Avalanche away from their home ice for two full weeks.

Former Capital goalie Semyon Varlamov looks to get the start between the pipes for the Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Avs centerman Joe Colborne tallied a hat trick in Colorado’s 6-5 win over Dallas in their season opener on Saturday. The win was also the first for Colorado’s new head coach Jared Bednar. Bednar replaced Patrick Roy, who resigned on August 11th, citing a lack of input in personnel decisions.

Power-less – The Capitals are 0-8 on the power play for the first two games (0-3 versus Pittsburgh and 0-5 versus the Islanders).   The Capitals have gone seven straight regular season games without a power play goal (0-for-20), dating back to last season.

The first power play unit has been out of sync for the most part, and finding it difficult to even enter the zone, setup the play and find open shots. The second power play unit looked better on Saturday night, with one shift yielding four fairly decent scoring chances.

Double-Duty – Washington has scored a pair of goals by a single player in both of their first two games. Andre Burakovsky scored a pair against the Penguins on opening night in Pittsburgh. Daniel Winnik notched a pair against the Islanders for the win on Saturday night.

Line-up – Coach Trotz met with the media following Monday mornings practice. He stated he is looking to get Brett Connolly and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer into a game in the near future, possibly Tuesday night. Other than those potential line-up changes, the lines will likely be the same as the first two games.

Great Wall of China Town – The Capitals will hold a pre-game ceremony prior to the game against Colorado to honor Braden Holtby’s historic 2015-16 season. During the ceremony, Holtby will receive a special gift from the organization. All fans in attendance on Tuesday will receive a Holtby fan banner.

Fourth Line Shine – The Capitals fourth line of Daniel Winnik, Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson has been a pleasant, early season surprise. Trotz stated in his post game presser on Saturday, “I don’t consider them our fourth line right now. They are probably one of our best lines”. The proof was evident in the lines the Islanders were throwing at the Caps fourth line, often combating the unit with their own top line of forwards. Winnik’s dazzler from Saturday night is worth another watch:


By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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