After a 4-day break, the Washington Capitals (4-4-1) are back in action as they embark on their 3-game Western Canada road trip. The Capitals will play 3 games in 4 nights, as they face Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. Let’s preview the late Thursday evening matchup with the Vancouver Canucks (5-3-1). Puck drop is at 10 PM ET on NBC Sports Washington.
The Canucks are younger, and have a new bench boss this year. Travis Green replaced Willie Desjardins behind the bench over the summer, and the Canucks are noticeably playing a quicker game.
The Canucks just finished a 5-game road trip, and went 4-1 on their road trip. The Canucks have won 3 straight games, including a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. Goaltender Anders Nilsson recorded a 29-save shutout against the Wild, his 2nd shutout of the season. While Nilsson has played well, Jacob Markstrom has received most the starts for the Canucks in net.
Jake Virtanen is playing well for the Canucks in the last couple of outings. He has 2 goals and 3 points in his last 3 games. Virtanen, 21, has been on a line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
The Canucks have another young sniper fans should be aware of. Brock Boeser, 20, is another 1st round pick who has made a major impact in his short stint in the NHL. The former North Dakota star knows how to light the lamp with his wicked shot release.
The injury hits just keep coming for the Washington Capitals. Already without defenseman Matt Niskanen, the Capitals announced on Tuesday afternoon that forward Andre Burakovsky had surgery on his thumb and he will miss then next 6-8 weeks of action. With Burakovsky’s long term injury, the Capitals have recalled forward Chandler Stephenson.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 24, 2017
The Capitals will look to get back on track after they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Florida Panthers last Saturday in Washington D.C. The Capitals took 6 minor penalties against the Panthers, and that is simply too many. The Capitals also went 0/4 on the powerplay against the Panthers. There is a lot to clean up in the Capitals game, and it all begins on special teams.
A bright spot from the Florida game is that defenseman Christian Djoos recorded his 2nd goal of his NHL career. The bad news for the Capitals is that Djoos is the only Capitals defenseman that has recorded a goal this season. For the Capitals to find success later in the season, the blueline must find ways to contribute goals.
The Capitals went 2-1 on their Western Canada road trip last season, as they won games in Vancouver and in Calgary. Their only loss of the road trip came in Edmonton.
A LOOK BACK IN TIME
The Washington Capitals defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in October 2016 at Rogers Arena.
When talking to Orpik earlier about the injuries and the early season struggles, he called this a “normal” year. Most teams go through this.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) October 24, 2017
This is the second straight year an injury has cost Burakovsky a lot of time. He missed 15 games last season with a broken right hand. #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikNBCS) October 24, 2017
By: George Foussekis