Game Preview: Capitals visit Champagne-soaked Second City


The Capitals are in the Champagne-soaked,  Second City on Friday to face the Chicago Blackhawks at the Madhouse on Madison. Puck-drop is 8:30 PM EST, and will be a televised game on CSN+. The Capitals will head directly from Chicago to Raleigh, North Carolina for their tilt against the Hurricanes on Saturday.

The Blackhawks (10-3-1) are coming off of a 2-1 overtime win against the Blues in St. Louis Wednesday night. Artemi “The Bread Man” Panarin notched the overtime winner just 25 seconds into the 3-on-3 overtime period to stretch the Blackhawks winning streak to seven games. Panarin also dropped the mitts in the contest, his first fight in the NHL.

The Blackhawks are 8-0-1 in their past nine games, outscoring opponents 30-15. A major factor behind the Blackhawks seven game winning streak is Cory Crawford, who is 6-0-0 in his last six starts and allowed a total of six goals in his last six starts.

Special Teams:
The ‘Hawks penalty kill got off to a horrid start this season, but are starting to turn things around. Chicago, still has the worst PK% in the league at 67.3%. The Blackhawks are 15th in the league on the power play with a 18.6% conversion rate, for a combined special teams index of 85.9%.

Other Notes:
Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov had an 11-game point streak end in St. Louis on Wednesday night. Anisimov’s level of play has allowed the Hawks to reunite Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line.

Anisimov left the game late in the second period because of an upper-body injury and did not return. Quenneville said he’s day-to-day.

The Capitals will look to start a new winning streak on Friday, after their season-long five game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Sharks 3-0 on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

Tom Wilson returned to the second line at practice Thursday morning. The top-line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie remained intact.

Barry Trotz stated that both Taylor Chorney and Philipp Grubauer will get starts in the back-to-back set this weekend. Chorney has yet to play in a game this season.

In Need of a Big One – The Capitals have yet to beat a team with a winning record, and have lost all four games against top-tier teams (Penguins, Rangers, Oilers and Sharks). Four of the next five games (Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Penguins and Red Wings) will provide a good measuring stick for the Capitals current status.

Power-less – The Capitals power play is still struggling. One could go back to last season and chart a consistent struggling and even a decline in the power play effectiveness. The Capitals are now 24th in the league in power play conversions, at 13.2 percent. The Capitals penalty kill is a bit better, 15th in the league at 81.8 percent, for a cumulative special teams index of 95.0.

Healing Ways – Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson returned to practice on Thursday morning after taking a maintenance day on Wednesday. Johansson was nicked in the Sharks game on Tuesday.

Head coach Barry Trotz met with the media Thursday afternoon, prior to the team departing for Chicago.


Friday night is the first of two meetings between the teams this season (Jan. 13 vs. CHI). Washington has won four of its last five games against Chicago and has posted a 7-3-0 record in its last 10 games against the Blackhawks.

Series Flashback


  • The Capitals are 4-1-1 on the road this season.
  • The Capitals are 5-2-0 against the Western Conference this season.
  • The Capitals are 19th in the league in goals scored (33) and third in the league in goals against (26).
  • The Capitals power-play unit has one goal in its last 15 chances. The second unit hasn’t scored at all this season.
  • Alex Ovechkin is three power-play goals shy of becoming the 18th player in NHL history to score 200 power-play goals.
  • John Carlson Passed Rod Langway (177) for eighth place on the Capitals assists by a defenseman list, Nov. 3 vs. Winnipeg.
  • The Capitals are 2-0-0 in back-to-back games this season and will play 16 back-to-back sets.
  • Washington has scored a goal in the first period in nine of their 12 games this season and has outscored opponents 13-5 in the first period this season.

Caps Today, 11/10/16 (Capitals PR)
Game Notes at Chicago, 11/11/16 (Capitals PR)
Caps Hit the Road – First Stop, Chicago (Mike Vogel)
Capitals’ second power-play unit has yet to score (WaPo)

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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