Capitals Daily Report: Orpik Returns as Caps Prep for Red-Hot Flames

Photo: @Capitals

The Capitals continue their battle for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division tonight against the Calgary Flames. Before their game, the team held a morning skate at Kettler. Here are some news and notes from the rink, as well as a look at tonight’s game. Puck drop is at 7 PM

MORNING SKATE
Brooks Orpik was back on the ice today and fully participated in drills, after having a maintenance day yesterday. Here’s how the lines looked this morning:
Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie
Johansson-Kuznetsov-Williams
Connolly-Eller-Burakovsky
Winnik-Beagle-Wilson

Defense
Alzner-Carlson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Shattenkirk

Nate Schmidt and Taylor Chorney look to be the healthy scratches tonight, as they remained on the ice for extra work after practice this morning. Trotz told reporters after the skate that he expects Orpik to be in tonight. Braden Holtby gets the start in goal.

When Trotz was asked if the team was going to recall any forwards from Hershey. He said they will likely call somebody up before the weekend. Should they decide to do so, the Caps would have 13 forwards. Hershey is in a playoff race of their own.

“They’re the development team. We’re in the winning business, not the development business, so that’s the best way to put it,” Trotz told reporters. “If they’re low on centers, we’d leave the centermen alone. We do take it into consideration, but it’s our needs first.”

One year ago today, the Capitals were ahead of the second place Rangers by 17 points in the Metropolitan Division. Now the Caps and Blue Jackets are tied with 100 points, with the Penguins right behind them with 99 points. The Caps will see the Blue Jackets Thursday night.

“Every game right now is meaningful,” Trotz added. “I thought last game (against the Lightning) I put a lot of emphasis on the game. I thought it was a big game for us because they were missing a couple people.  To me it was a little bit of a statement game. We played well against Minnesota and against Nashville but we didn’t get it done. I thought it was important that we don’t fall back and lose a game against a very desperate team.”

All of the fans attending tonight’s game tonight will receive a Holtby bobblehead.

Tonight is the night! #BobbleBeast

A post shared by Washington Capitals (@capitals) on

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The Flames held a morning skate at Verizon Center. Here’s what their projected lines look like:

Forwards
Gaudreau-Monahan-Chiasson
Bennett-Backlund-Frolik
Versteeg-Stajan-Brouwer
Bouma-Hamilton-Lazar

Defense
Giordano-Hamilton
Brodie-Stone
Bartkowski-Engelland

The Capitals offense will try to solve netminder Brian Elliott, who gets the start in goal. He comes into tonight having won 11 games in a row and will try to break Mike Vernon’s record of consecutive wins in franchise history. Vernon set the record back in the 1988-89 season. The Flames have won 12 of their last 13 games. Check out our preview for more on tonight’s game.

SCENES FROM KETTLER

GAME CHIPS

  • Tonight is the second and final meeting between the Capitals and Flames this season.
  • Washington defeated Calgary 3-1 on Oct. 30 in Calgary.
  • For our game preview click here.

SHAVINGS

  • Braden Holtby will play in his 300th NHL game tonight. His career record is 185-71-31 with 31 shutouts, a 2.31 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.
  • The Capitals will participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the 27th time in franchise history including nine of the last 10 seasons.
  • Nicklas Backstrom recorded four assists on Saturday, marking his 10th career four-assist game. His four assists in a game is also a career high.
  • T.J. Oshie recorded his third career hat trick and fifth career four-point game (three goals, one assist) on Saturday. It was also his second time this season he recorded four points in a game. He had two goals and two assists on Nov. 16 against the Penguins.
  • Justin Williams scored his 20th goal of the season on Saturday, marking his second consecutive and sixth career 20-goal season.
  • The Capitals have posted  a 28-6-2 record at home this season and have earned a point in 22 of their last 24 home games.
  • The Capitals have scored 26 power play goals in their last 32 games, posting a power play percentage of 28% during that stretch.
  • Washington leads the NHL in 5-on-5 goals against (96) and goal differential (+63) this season.

DAILY LINKS
Travel advisory for Capitals game tonight at Verizon Center (Verizon Center PR)
Game Notes vs. Calgary, 3/21/17 (Capitals PR)
Caps Host Calgary to Start Homestand (Mike Vogel)

INTERVIEWS
Rinkside Update: Justin Williams

Barry Trotz

Capitals Pregame Locker Room

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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