The Washington Capitals will return home to host the Colorado Avalanche after a quick pit stop in Brooklyn, where they visited the New York Islanders last night. Colorado will also play the second-half of a back-to-back after playing the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena last night. Colorado clunked Washington in the first meeting at Pepsi Center by a 6-2 count on November 16.
The Avalanche will conclude their four-game road trip in Washington on Tuesday night looking to finish .500 before going home. The Avalanche dropped the first game, losing 5-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning but have won two straight, beating the Panthers 7-3 yesterday and the Penguins 2-1 last night.
Before beating Florida last Saturday, the Avalanche had lost four straight and six out of their last seven games. After finishing with the worst record in the league last season with a 22-56-4, the Avalanche find themselves just four points south of a playoff spot with 30 points.
Nathan MacKinnon has 7 goals and 18 points in 15 games since Colorado trade Matt Duchene to the Ottawa Senators and MacKinnon, including a five-point night (one goal) in the last outing against the Capitals. Overall, MacKinnon leads the Avalanche with 11 goals and 33 points in 29 games this season.
Former-Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov is expected to be the starter for the Avs after Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves against Pittsburgh last night. This season, Varlamov has a 9-7-1 record with a .905 percentage and a 3.14 goals against average. Lifetime against the Capitals, he is 3-3-0 with a .948 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average.
The Capitals return home after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Islanders in Brooklyn last night. Dmitry Orlov scored the Capitals’ lone goal and Braden Holtby got pulled after giving up 3 goals on 12 shots. Philipp Grubauer made 12 shots in relief.
The Capitals have won four straight games on home ice and have an 11-2-0 record at Capital One Arena since November 2. In addition, the Capitals have not lost to the Avalanche in three straight home games, outscoring them 13-5 in that span.
T.J. Oshie skated after practice this morning but wore a green jersey, so he probably will not play tonight. He has not played since taking a hit to the head from San Jose Sharks’ center Joe Thornton on December 4, missing four straight games. He is considered day-to-day.
The Capitals have won 7 out of their past 9 games and will look to bounce back from their loss to the Islanders last night. They begin a stretch where they will play five out of the next six games against Western Conference foes, including a three-game road trip against the Stars, Coyotes, and Golden Knights next week. The other game is against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday at Capital One Arena.
Braden Holtby will get the start after getting pulled last night. He is 16-7-0 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.67 goals against average. Lifetime against Colorado, he is 4-1-0 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against average.
-The Capitals have won three straight home games and 6 out of the past 7 meetings with the Avalanche
–Evgeny Kuznetsov has 3 goals and 8 points in 7 career games against the Avalanche
-The Capitals are tied for the second-best record in their past 11 games, going 8-3-0 (Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights). The Los Angeles Kings have the best, going 9-2-0 in that span.
A Look Back in Time
The Capitals got goals from Justin Williams, Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, and Nate Schmidt in the first period to power the Capitals to a 7-3 victory over the Avalanche two years ago. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and Karl Alzner scored the rest of the goals as Washington crunched Colorado on November 21, 2015.
By Harrison Brown