News and Notes from Friday’s Capitals Optional Skate: Enemy Territory but Feeling Right at Home

Photo: @Capitals

The Capitals flew to Pittsburgh after their practice on Thursday and hit the ice for an optional skate Friday morning prior to tonight’s epic contest with the Penguins. After going 1-1-0 against their rivals in DC, the Capitals are in Pittsburgh in what is sure to be a hostile environment for the first time this season. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. 

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jakub Vrana, Brett Connolly, Chandler Stephenson

Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey, Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer

Once again, the rivalry of the Capitals and the Penguins take centerstage in the hockey world tonight.

“This is a great rivalry, it’s been that way for years. So I look forward to it. Star power, some great names on the other side. We have some names. I think the fans, I think they get into it. I think the players do,” Trotz told the media.

If the Caps can secure two points in Pittsburgh tonight, it can put them up seven points over the second-place Devils and eight points ahead of Pittsburgh. It will be a tough task to cool off a hot Penguins team as they’re coming into tonight’s contest winners of eight of their last 10. Down the road should these teams meet in the playoffs, the Capitals will have revenge on their minds after being sent home to this same Penguins team the last two seasons.

“You always want to (match up) because I think both teams are good enough to be in the playoffs,” Trotz added. “If we run into each other, it will be another good series. Hopefully it’ll fall on our side once in a while here.”

Even though the Caps will face a tough environment in Pittsburgh, Tom Wilson feels right at home.

“It almost feels like home here in Pittsburgh now,” Wilson told reporters. “We’ve spent so much time here. Pretty familiar with the hotel, the ride to the rink, the facilities, your opponent, the way it feels in the rink and the building so it’s just about going out there and playing hard. You know it’s gonna be a battle, it’s gonna be great game so it’s fun to play these guys for sure. It’s become a pretty good rivalry, something that you look forward to. If you’re a competitive guy, look forward to these games for sure.”

As for what the lineup could look like, all signs point to it remaining unchanged from Wednesday night’s game against the Flyers. Taylor Chorney and Jakub Vrana were once again taking the scratches skate at the end of the optional.




  • The Capitals are 96-98-16-9 all-time against the Penguins.
  • T.J. Oshie snapped a 13-game goal-less drought on Wednesday night against the Flyers. The goal came on the power play marking his eighth power play goal of the season, one goal short of Alex Ovechkin who leads the team.
  • The Capitals are 19-8-4 against the Eastern conference this season, the second most points against the conference in the NHL (Boston: 44 points in 29 games) through games played Jan. 31.
  • In 122 career games against the Metropolitan Division, Braden Holtby is 66-26-16 with a 2.33 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
  • Jay Beagle is one goal shy of 50 career goals.
  • The Capitals trailed the Flyers 2-0 after the first period on Jan. 31 before scoring five straight goals for the 5-3 win. That marked the sixth time this season Washington won a game after facing a two-goal deficit, the most wins in the NHL.
  • The Capitals are 13-13-2 in games where they surrender the first goal.
  • Lars Eller finished with eight points (5 goals, 3 assists) in the month of January, the second-most among Capitals’ forwards.





Looking for a place to watch the Caps game tonight with other diehard Caps fans? Look no further! NoVa Caps will be holding a watch party at Miller’s Ale House in Sterling, Va. We will be selling raffle tickets that will benefit Lab Rescue of the Potomac and will raffle off some cool Caps prizes. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and you’re encouraged to arrive early as we anticipate a big turnout.

By Michael Marzzacco

This entry was posted in Daily Report, Morning Skate, News, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to News and Notes from Friday’s Capitals Optional Skate: Enemy Territory but Feeling Right at Home

  1. Anonymous says:

    JV should be in and AC should be out….

Leave a Reply