Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Capitals

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The Columbus Blue Jackets come to town for a Sunday matinée (12:30 PM start), in the second of two meetings between the teams this week. The Capitals will be looking to avenge their 2-1 overtime loss in Columbus on Tuesday. 

COLUMBUS
Columbus (9-4-2) continued their winning ways following their defeat of the Capitals earlier in the week, beating the Rangers 4-2 in Columbus on Friday night. The Blue Jackets have now won seven straight at home.

Columbus is now 4 points behind the Capitals and six behind the first place Rangers (Columbus has three games in hand with the Rangers and two with the Capitals).

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Special Teams:
The Blue Jackets continue to have the league’s best power play with a conversion rate of 29.3%. Columbus has the ninth best penalty kill in the league at 84.8%, for a combined special teams index of 114.1.

Shots:
Columbus still leads the league in fewest shot attempts per game with an average of 26.7 shots per game, yet the Jackets are eighth in the league in goals scored.

WASHINGTON
The Capitals (11-4-2) are only two points behind the New York Rangers for first place, with a game in hand, however, Friday night’s win over Detroit at Verizon Center was costly, as both T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller sustained significant injuries. Eller is currently listed as “day-to-day”, but Oshie is listed as “week-to-week”. With at least one open spot in the line-up, the Capitals recalled Paul Carey from Hershey Saturday afternoon.

Coach Trotz stated on Saturday that he thought it was doubtful Lars Eller would play Sunday versus Columbus.

Stingy Defense:
The Capitals have given up just three goals in their last three games, and are currently 4th in the league in goals against for the season.

Special Teams:
The Capitals power play continues to struggle, currently 21st in the league with a conversion rate of 13.7%. Washington’s penalty kill is currently 11th in the league at 84.6%, for a combined special teams index of 98.3.

THE MATCH-UP

Series Flashback
Tuesday night’s game turned on a coaches challenge which negated a goal for Nicklas Backstrom and the Capitals. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella challenged Backstrom’s goal was offsides, and won the challenge.

SHAVINGS:

  • Braden Holtby stopped all 25 shots he faced on Friday against Detroit to earn his 24th career shutout and first of the season.
  • Holtby ranks second in franchise history in career shutouts (Olie Kolzig: 35).
  • In his last eight games, Holtby has posted a 7-1-0 record with one shutout, a 1.61 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has just two goals in his last 37 regular season games dating back to last season. Including playoffs, he has three goals in his last 49 games.

GAME LINKS:
Capitals Recall Paul Carey from Hershey (Capitals PR)
Game Notes vs. Columbus, 11/20/16 (Capitals PR)
POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 1, Red Wings 0 (Mike Vogel)
Caps Clash With Columbus (Mike Vogel)
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 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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