News and Notes from Tuesday’s Capitals Morning Skate in Columbus: Two Big Reunions

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Photo: @Capitals

The Capitals headed to Columbus, Ohio on Monday and on Tuesday morning held a morning skate at Nationwide Arena to prepare for a big two-game stretch against the Columbus Blue Jackets that begins Tuesday night at 7 p.m. While these teams won’t play on two consecutive nights it’s still a very important home-and-home, back-to-back stretch for the Capitals as they look to remain in the driver’s seat in a tight Metropolitan Division

THE MORNING LINES

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson
Vrana-Kuznetsov-Oshie
Connolly-Eller-Burakovsky
Stephenson-Beagle-DSP
Defense
Djoos-Carlson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Bowey

Scratches: Taylor Chorney and Alex Chiasson
Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

NEWS
For the first time since their Jan. 19 loss to the Canadiens, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom were paired on a line together. Once again, the duo was on the first line with Tom Wilson. Ovechkin and Backstrom shared the same line for a stretch of 25 games. Ovechkin has scored 15 of his league-leading 32 goals during that stretch while Backstrom has assisted on 16 of his 28 in that stretch.

Andre Burakovsky was back on the third line with Lars Eller and Brett Connolly. That line was a place where Burakovsky excelled at last season before his thumb injury that February. Last season, the Connolly-Eller-Burakovsky line combined for 22 goals and 17 assists during an 18-game stretch from January to February. Burakovsky chipped in seven goals and eight assists during that run. After Burakovsky ended his nine-game goalless drought with a tally last Wednesday in a  win over the Flyers, Burakovsky hopes to rekindle the chemistry he had just one short year ago with Eller and Connolly.

“They’ve played together, they’ve had success. I’m just moving pieces around a little bit right now which is a good thing with our group. I’ve done it all year for different stretches and I think the way we are constructed tonight gives us our best chance to win,” said Capitals head coach Barry Trotz.

One thing that was strange from the morning skate was the scratch’s skate at the end. While Vrana was initially taking line rushes on the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Oshie, Vrana was additionally taking the scratch’s skate. Does this mean he will be out tonight? We’ll have to wait and see.

CAPS RED LINE

CAPS TODAY

GAME NOTES

SHAVINGS

  • Nicklas Backstrom is one goal shy of 200 career goals.
  • Jay Beagle is one goal shy of 50 career goals.
  • Washington holds a 10-5-0-2 record all-time at Nationwide Arena and a 20-7-1-4 record all-time against Columbus.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has five assists in his last four games and is on a four-game assist streak, which is tied with Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson for the longest assist streak this season (Backstrom has two four-game assist streaks)
  • Christian Djoos has recorded an assist in three-straight games, and his nine assists rank seventh among rookie defensemen this season.
  • Additionally, Djoos’ 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) are tied with Madison Bowey for sixth-most among rookie defensemen.
  • The Capitals have earned a point in 10 of their last 11 games against the Blue Jackets (8-1-2) and in 19 of their last 23 games against Columbus (15-4-4).
  • Nicklas Backstrom has 22 points (6 goals, 16 assists) in 26 career games against Columbus while Alex Ovechkin has 15 goals in 27 career games.

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

INTERVIEWS
Braden Holtby and Evgeny Kuznetsov

Barry Trotz

Rinkside Update: Madison Bowey

By Michael Marzzacco

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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