Over the past 10 days, the Washington Capitals have returned to a form that fans are used to seeing on the ice. The Capitals (18-7-3) have won 5 games in a row, and have won 7 out of their last 10 games. On Friday night, the Capitals are in Raleigh, NC to take on the Carolina Hurricanes (12-11-6), who have won 7 in a row at PNC Arena. The game will be televised on CSN-DC+ at 7:30 PM.
The Hurricanes have been outstanding at PNC Arena so far this year. They have an 8-3 record in Raleigh, and they are coming off a wild 8-6 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. The Cane’s scored 6 goals in the third period to take the win.
Sebastian Aho, 19, is a young Finn that has been turning heads in Carolina. Aho was selected by the Hurricanes in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Draft. Aho scored the first 2 goals of his career against the Capitals on November 12. He has 5 goals and 14 points this season, and he has turned heads because of his elite speed and skill on the ice.
The Hurricanes powerplay and penalty kill have been very good this year. On the powerplay, the Hurricanes are 22.4% effective, which is 6th best in the NHL. On the penalty kill, the Hurricanes are 92.3% effective, and have the best unit in the NHL.
Starting goaltender Cam Ward was removed after giving up 3 goals against the Canucks on Tuesday night. Backup Eddie Lack is out with injury, and has not played for the Hurricanes since November 10. Michael Leighton came in to the game in relief for Cam Ward on Tuesday, and surrendered 3 goals.
The Capitals have won 5 in a row, and they are in their best winning stretch of the season now. Unfortunately for the Capitals, their Metropolitan Division rivals Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, Columbus, and Philadelphia are also winning many games right now. While the Capitals are stuck in the Wild Card, the Hurricanes are 9 points behind them and are hovering near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.
On Tuesday night, the Capitals got some revenge against their Brooklyn-based division rival. Matt Niskanen’s 2-goal 3rd period heroics helped propel the Capitals to victory. 20-year old Capitals forward Jakub Vrana registered a couple of assists, and is now up to 3 points in his first 7 games of his NHL career.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 14, 2016
The Capitals powerplay has seen some steady improvement during the 5-game win streak. The Capitals powerplay is now 18.7% effective, which is 14th best in the NHL. The Capitals penalty kill is 83.7% effective, which is 9th best in the NHL.
Braden Holtby has 14 wins in 22 starts for the Capitals. He has registered a 2.08 goals against average and .925 save percentage.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is on a 5-game point streak. He has registered 7 assists in the last 5 games.
In the Capitals first meeting with the Hurricanes in mid-November, the Capitals were beaten soundly 5-1. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the Capitals lone goal, and the Capitals were badly outshot 38-21 in the contest.
Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen both registered 4 points in the last game against the Capitals.
This will be the second matchup between the Capitals and Hurricanes in 2016-17. They will face each other two more times in Washington this season.
Last 10 games for the Metro’s top-5 teams: Pitt (8-2-0, W7); NYR (6-4-0, L1); Phila (10-0-0), CBJ (8-1-1, W7) and Wash (7-2-1, W5). Yikes.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) December 15, 2016
Caps Clash with Canes in Raleigh (Mike Vogel)
Game Notes at Carolina, 12/15/16 (Capitals PR)
Caps Today, 12/15/16 (Capitals PR)
Prospect Report: Zach Sanford Thrives in the AHL (JJ Regan/CSN)
Capitals Daily Quote: Nicklas Backstrom’s ‘Pulse Rate Is Very Low’ (Tarik El-Bashir/CSN)
By: George Foussekis