The Washington Capitals play the second game of a four-game homestand against the Calgary Flames on Monday night. This will mark the final time these two teams meet this season as Calgary took a 2-1 decision at the Scotia Bank Saddledome on October 29.
The Flames are playing the middle match of a six-game road trip. They started out the road trip with an 8-2 loss against the Red Wings but bounced back nicely with a 5-4 overtime decision in Philadephia Saturday afternoon. They play the Blue Jackets, Stars, and Avalanche before going back home.
Johnny Gaudreau is one of the NHL’s hottest players, riding a nine-game point streak. He has seven goals and 10 assists, including a two-assist performance against Washington the first time these two teams met. He is fresh off a 3-point performance against the Flyers on Saturday. Overall on the season, “Johnny Hockey” is third in the NHL with 29 points. Nine of those are goals. He is four points behind Lightning center Steven Stamkos and Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who have 35 and 33 points respectively.
2016 6th overall pick Matthew Tkachuk returns to the Flames’ lineup after a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct during the Flames’ brawl against the Red Wings in Detroit’s 8-2 victory at Little Caesars’ Arena on Wednesday. He has four goals and 13 points in 18 games for the Flames this season. He missed the Flames’ lone visit to Washington last year due to suspension.
Mike Smith will likely get the start. He made 29 saves against Washington three weeks ago in Calgary’s 2-1 victory. On the season, he is 10-6-0 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.70 goals against average. He also has one shutout.
The Capitals are playing the middle match of their four-game homestand. They opened it up with a 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at 7th and F street bouncing back from a rough two-game road trip, where they were outscored 12-5 by the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche. The Capitals will be at home for 8 out of the next 9 games on the schedule.
They can bump up to the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with a win since the New York Islanders lost 4-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes earlier today. They sit a point ahead of the Capitals.
The Capitals are 6-3-0 in the month of November, including a five-game winning streak at home. They look to make it six straight against the Flames on Monday night.
Nicklas Backstrom will look to break his career-long 14 game goalless drought on Monday night. In those 14 games, he has four assists. On the season, he has 3 goals and 15 points. In 14 career contests against the Flames, he has 7 goals and 20 points.
Braden Holtby will likely get the net. He is 11-4-0 in 15 appearances this season with a .921 save percentage and a 2.56 goals against average. He bounced back nicely from giving up 6 goals on 25 shots in a 6-3 loss against the Predators on Tuesday with a 30 save performance on Saturday against Minnesota. He is 4-1-1 with an .887 save percentage and a 2.88 goals against average in seven career outings against the Flames.
-Jay Beagle, a Calgary native, is two points shy of 100 career points
-The Capitals are already at 48 man games lost, last season’s total. The next lowest total last season was the Flames at 72 man games lost. They are currently second last with 11 man games lost
-Alex Ovechkin is one game-winning goal shy of passing Mats Sundin (96) for ninth place on the NHL’s all-time game-winning goals list.
A Look Back in Time
The last time these two teams met was at Capital One Arena was on March 21. T.J. Oshie scored his 30th goal of the season, Ovechkin had his 29th, and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom each struck en route to a 4-2 Capitals victory. The Capitals ended goaltender Brian Elliott’s winning streak of 11 games.
By Harrison Brown