Capitals Daily Report: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Clinch’mas

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Photo: @Capitals

Now the stakes are getting higher. The Capitals can clinch a playoff as soon as tonight. Here is how they can achieve it as well as some notes from the morning skate in Tampa. 

MORNING SKATE
The Capitals held an optional skate this morning. Here’s a reminder as to what the lines would look like, as told by J.J. Regan of CSN.

Andre Burakovsky was on the ice for full participation. Tonight he will play his first game since Feb. 9, back on his 22nd birthday, when he broke his right hand. This morning he was officially taken off the long term injured-reserve.

Expect some urgency when the Caps take the ice tonight. The last time they were in this building they lost in a shootout. Barry Trotz told reporters after practice that tonight is a must win game and that the team’s performance in the last 10 games is unacceptable.

In those last 10 games, the Caps went a dismal 4-5-1, including four straight losses in regulation, three on the road. Tonight they’ll look to turn it around against a banged up Lightning team.

The Capitals could become the first team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot this season if they beat the Lightning in any fashion and the Islanders lose to the Blue Jackets in any way.

GAME CHIPS

  • Tonight is the third and final meeting between the Capitals and the Lightning this season.
  • Washington is 1-0-1 this season against Tampa Bay. Each team won in their home barn. The winner tonight will take the season series.
  • For Mike Vogel’s game preview click here.

SHAVINGS

  • Brett Connolly scored a goal on Thursday against Nashville, marking his career high 15th goal of the season.
  • Alex Ovechkin has earned 82 points (41 goals and 41 assists) in 62 career games against the Lightning.
  • Ovi’s 82 points against Tampa Bay is the second most points he’s scored against an NHL franchise (Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets)
  • Washington has earned a point in seven consecutive games against the Lightning (6-0-1) and 13 of their last 14 games (11-1-2).
  • Braden Holtby leads the NHL in goals-against average (2.03) and in shutouts this season with eight.
  • The Capitals are 15-3-2 against the Atlantic Division this season.
  • In the Barry Trotz era (2014-15-present), the Caps have earned a point in 53 of their last 61 games against their foes in the Atlantic Division.
  • Nicklas Backstrom is tied for second in the NHL in assists this season (50) and is ranked sixth in points (71).

DAILY LINKS
Game Notes at Tampa Bay, 3/18/17 (Capitals PR)
Opinion: Why Nate Schmidt is Still No. 7 Among the Caps’ Defenseman (J.J. Regan/CSN)

INTERVIEWS
Barry Trotz

Brett Connolly

Rinkside Update: Andre Burakovsky 

By Michael Marzzacco

A post shared by NoVa Caps (@nova_caps) on

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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