Barry Trotz told the media after the Capitals morning skate on Thursday that he was taking an approach that the team was “rested, not rusty.” With six days of no hockey action, the Capitals had a tough challenge against the second-place New Jersey Devils. While they ultimately came away with a 4-3 overtime loss, a game-tying goal by Brett Connolly late in the third ensured that Washington would come away with a point. The Caps look to get two points Friday night as they host Karl Alzner and the Montreal Canadiens. Prior to the game, the team held an optional skate Friday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Andre Burakovsky, Alex Chiasson, Chandler Stephenson, Jay Beagle, Brett Connolly
Taylor Chorney, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos
Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubuaer
T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Lars Eller
Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik
Even though this skate was an optional there was still big attendance with 15 players out on the ice. That likely has to do with the lack of ice time the team had with both the bye week and practice being canceled on Wednesday.
Andre Burakovsky has missed the last three games. First he missed both games against the Hurricanes due to a stomach flu right before the bye week. Then Trotz scratched him from the lineup for last night’s game in New Jersey.
“He was sick and missed a few days before the break so he’s been on a break for quite a while now. To give him the best chance to be successful: get him a good skate today and I expect him to go in tomorrow for someone and let’s get him rolling in the right direction,” Trotz told the media after Thursday’s skate.
Burakovsky told the media that he’s in tonight. Devante Smith-Pelly was still on the ice for the extra workouts at the end of the skate as was Taylor Chorney. Trotz won’t address the media until 5:30 p.m., exactly two hours prior to puck drop at 7:30 so we’ll know more about what the lines will look like for tonight’s game. We’ll also find out who will be the healthy scratches.
Note from skate: Devante Smith-Pelly stayed on for extra work, indicating that he could be a healthy scratch tonight with Andre Burakovsky coming back into the lineup. Taylor Chorney was also on the ice for some extra drills.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) January 19, 2018
Philipp Grubauer will get the start in goal tonight after Braden Holtby got the start in New Jersey the night before. Grubauer is 4-0-2 in his last seven appearances with a 1.33 goals-against average, a .957 save percentage and a shutout. Grubauer has stopped 171 of 175 even strength shots over that stretch, good for a .977 save percentage and has allowed just three goals at five-on-five.
CAPS TODAY: In five games against Canadian teams within the Atlantic Division this season, Ovechkin has three hat tricks and 11 goals. He and the Capitals face the Montreal Canadiens tonight. https://t.co/mVqEVQ8TH7 pic.twitter.com/6QskJQZxaX
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 19, 2018
GAME NOTES: Washington continues with the second half of their back-to-back tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens. The Caps last faced the Canadiens in their home opener, winning 6-1. https://t.co/l5WFVbtiHw pic.twitter.com/FgVbSNEVoY
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 19, 2018
- The Capitals are 70-71-17-5 all-time against the Canadiens and 38-32-9-2 at Capital One Arena
- The last time the Caps faced the Canadiens came in their home opener as Alex Ovechkin recorded four goals to lead Washington to a 6-1 win. It was also Ovechkin’s second straight game recording a hat trick, becoming the first player to open the season with two straight hat tricks in 100 years (Cy Denneny, Ottawa Senators, 1917; Reg Noble, Toronto Arenas, 1917; Joe Malone, Montreal Canadiens, 1917)
- Brett Connolly scored two goals against the New Jersey Devils last night, his second career two-goal game (Dec. 1, 2014 as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning). In addition, Connolly has three goals in his last two games and four goals in his last five games.
- The Capitals are 5-3-2 on the front end and 4-5-0 in the second of back-to-back games.
- Dmitry Orlov had a goal against the Devils on Thursday for his sixth of the season. Orlov is on pace for 11 goals, which would be a new career high (eight goals in 2015-16).
- Lars Eller has a goal in four of his last five games.
- In five games against Canadian teams within the Atlantic Division this season, Ovechkin has three hat tricks and 11 goals.
- Ovechkin has 48 points (27 goals, 21 assists) in 43 career games against the Montreal Canadiens. Ovechkin is one of only six active players with at least 20 goals against Montreal (Jaromir Jagr: 43, Jason Spezza: 31, Eric Staal: 21, Patrice Bergeron: 20, Thomas Vanek: 20).
CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 19, 2018
By Michael Marzzacco