Capitals Daily Report: Silencing the Cannons

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Photo: @JoeBpXp

The Capitals continue their longest road trip of the season tonight in Columbus. This is a big game tonight, with the winner being in legit position to win the Metropolitan Division. There’s only one week left till playoff time! Puck drop is at 6 PM on CSN+. 

MORNING SKATE
The Capitals held a morning skate at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. While they’re in enemy territory, there will be a ton of Caps fans making the trip, including Caps Fan Club and Caps Road Crew.

The lines remained unchanged and Braden Holtby (40-12-6, 2.11 goals-against average, .923 save percentage) will get the start in goal.

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie
Johansson-Kuznetsov-Williams
Connolly-Eller-Burakovsky
Winnik-Beagle-Wilson

Defensemen
Alzner-Carlson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Shattenkirk

“It’s gonna be good for both teams. It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere and it’s going to be one of those fun games to play in,” said Brett Connolly. “We’re ready and we know they’ll be ready. It’s a big game for both teams fighting for (playoff) position.”

SCENES FROM COLUMBUS

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
While the Capitals fell to the Coyotes in the dessert, the Blue Jackets lost to the Blackhawks 3-1 in Chicago. If the Capitals had beaten the Coyotes, Washington would have had a chance to clinch the Metropolitan Division with a win tonight. Alas, we soldier on.

The Blue Jackets (49-20-8, 106 points) don’t hold morning skates but here’s an idea of what their lines should look like tonight. Sergei Bobrovsky (41-14-5, 1.97 goals-against average, .935 save percentage) will get the start in goal for the Blue Jackets.

Forwards
Saad-Wennberg-Foligno
Jenner-Dubinsky-Atkinson
Hartnell-Gagner-Korpikoski
Calvert-Karlsson-Anderson

Defensemen
Werenski-Jones
Johnson-Savard
Quincey-Nutivaara

METROPOLITAN DIVISION STANDINGS

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.40.06 AM

If the Capitals fall tonight, that would shorten their division lead to two points with four games to play. If the Capitals come out of this game with a regulation win, they’ll be six points ahead, putting more pressure on both the Jackets and the Penguins. Pittsburgh plays Carolina tonight at 5 p.m.

GAME CHIPS

  • Tonight is the fifth and final meeting between the Capitals and Blue Jackets this season. Washington carries a 2-1-1 record against Columbus this season.
  • To check out our game preview, click here.

SHAVINGS

  • Nicklas Backstrom is one goal shy of passing Bobby Carpenter (188) for eighth place on the franchise goals list.
  • The Capitals have won five consecutive games against Metropolitan Division opponents and have earned a point in 14 of their last 16 games against Metro Division teams (12-2-2).
  • Backstrom scored a goal on Friday at Arizona and has earned 16 points in his last 10 games (two goals, 14 assists). He ranks second in the NHL in assists (60) this season and tied for fourth in points (83).
  • Braden Holtby leads the NHL in shutouts (eight) this season, ranks second in goals-against average (2.11) and wins (40) and sixth in save percentage (.923).
  • Marcus Johansson earned two assists on Friday at Arizona, extending his career-long assist streak to five games.
  • The Capitals have scored 35 power play goals in their last 38 games, posting a 31.5% power play percentage during that span.
  • The Caps have earned a point in eight of their last nine games against the Blue Jackets (6-1-2) and in 17 of their last 21 games against Columbus (13-4-4).
  • Daniel Winnik scored a goal on Friday at Arizona, marking his career-high 12th goal of the season.

DAILY LINKS
Game Notes at Columbus, 4/2/17 (Capitals PR)
I want my 3rd line back! Suggestions?
Caps Clash with Jackets (Mike Vogel)
Sunday Showdown: Caps, Jackets Clash With a Lot on the Line (Tarik El-Bashir/CSN Mid-Atlantic)
SKATE SHAVINGS: News and Notes From Caps’ Morning Skate (Mike Vogel)

INTERVIEWS
Barry Trotz

Brett Connolly

Braden Holtby

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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