The Capitals Mentors’ Trip was a success, as the Capitals swept 2 Central Division foes. On Thursday night, the Capitals impressed their mentors with a 7-3 thrashing of the Blues, and followed it up on Saturday night with an exciting 4-3 overtime win in Dallas. It was the Capitals first victory against the Dallas Stars since 2008. The Capitals will now return home Monday evening for a quick home matchup with their Metropolitan Division rival Carolina Hurricanes. Puck drop is at 7 PM on CSN.
The Hurricanes (21-18-7) are in the hunt for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They currently sit 2 points out behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers. The Hurricanes are on a 3-game losing skid, as they lost 2 games against the Blue Jackets last week, and got thrashed by the Penguins 7-1 on Friday night.
Jeff Skinner is leading the way for the Hurricanes in scoring. He has 17 goals and 35 points in 45 games.
Cam Ward is the undisputed #1 goaltender in Carolina. In 39 starts, Ward has recorded 18 wins, a 2.54 goals against average and .909 save percentage, and 2 shutouts. Ward received 2 minutes for roughing on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins after he gave notable Penguins pest Patric Hornqvist a good lick in the chops.
SHOTS FOR AND SHOTS AGAINST
The Hurricanes average 30.6 shots per game, which is 8th best in the NHL. They surrender only 27.9 shots per game, which is 5th fewest in the NHL.
The Hurricanes powerplay is in the bottom half of the NHL. They are 16.5% effective, which is ranked 23rd in the NHL. The penalty kill is at the top of the NHL, as they are 88.7% effective.
METROPOLITAN DIVISION STANDINGS UPDATE
The Capitals (31-9-6) are the hottest team in the NHL right now. They are 9-0-1 in their last 10 games, and have not lost a game in regulation in 2017.
They cruised through their main competition over the past few weeks, and will now see some teams over the next week that are not in the playoff chase. With Columbus and Pittsburgh right behind in the standings, the Capitals cannot afford to have a bad game or two anytime soon.
Nicklas Backstrom is leading the Capitals in scoring. He has 13 goals and 46 points in 46 games. Backstrom is in the top 10 in the NHL scoring race.
Braden Holtby is having another stellar season for the Capitals in net. In 36 starts, Holtby has recorded 22 wins, a 1.99 goals against average and .929 save percentage, and 6 shutouts.
SHOTS FOR AND SHOTS AGAINST
The Capitals average 29.8 shots per game, which is ranked 17th best in the NHL. They surrender just 28.1 shots per game, which is 6th fewest in the NHL.
The Capitals powerplay has improved slightly, and it is now 20.3% effective, which is ranked 14th best in the NHL. Like the Hurricanes, the Capitals also have a stellar penalty kill that is 86% effective, which is 3rd best in the NHL.
This is the third meeting of the season between Carolina and Washington. They last faced each other on December 16 in Raleigh, and the Capitals claimed a 4-3 victory in the shootout. Their final meeting will take place on February 7 in Washington.
Game Notes vs. Carolina, 1/23/17 (Capitals PR)
Jay Beagle capitalizes on rare overtime opportunity (Tarik El-Bashir/CSN-MA)
By: George Foussekis