Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Capitals – Round Two


Photo: NHL/Getty Images

The Capitals and Blue Jackets are set to due battle Friday night at Capital One Arena in the second game of their home-and-home set. The Capitals took the opener 3-2 in dramatic fashion Tuesday night in Columbus when Nicklas Backstrom potted his 200th NHL career goal with less than a minute to play in regulation, giving the Caps the win. Gametime Friday night is 7:00 PM. 

THE OPENER
Game one saw the Jackets strike first less than two minutes into the game, but the Caps quickly tied things up moments later with a power play goal by John Carlson. Tom Wilson would provide the lone goal in the middle frame, but the Jackets would tie things up late in the third period with a goal from Brandon Dubinsky. Nicklas Backstrom would win it with his 200th NHL goal with less than a minute to play.

GAMES TWO
Both the Capitals (31-17-5, 67 points) and the Blue Jackets (27-22-4, 58 points) have been off since their tilt in Ohio earlier in the week. There has been no official announcement as of yet, but expect Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby to get the starts for the rematch. Holtby stopped of  37 of 39 shots and Bobrovsky stopped 22 of 25 shots in Tuesday night’s contest.

Capitals
After an apparent mid-game benching on Monday night, it looks like Andre Burakovsky will be a healthy scratch on Friday night (his 23rd birthday). Burakovsky only played a total of 6:34 in the first game Tuesday night . His last shift came with 2:11 left in the second period. Burakovsky sat out the entire third period. During practice on Thursday, Burakovsky looked to be the planned scratch for Friday night, with Alex Chiasson taking his spot at right wing on the third line. Practice lines on Thursday:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson
Vrana-Kuznetsov-Oshie
Connolly-Eller-Chiasson
Stephenson-Eller-Smith-Pelly
Defense
Djoos-Carlson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Bowey

Blue Jackets
For the Jackets, Friday night’s tilt in the District will be the first game of the team’s annual “Dad’s Trip”. Look for an inspired response from Columbus, considering Tuesday night’s bitter conclusion to game one, fathers in the house, but more importantly for Columbus, the hour is already getting late, as they now find themselves nine points behind the Capitals in the hotly contested Metropolitan Division race.

Goalie Jeff Zatkoff was recalled Wednesday from the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. Zatkoff, 30, also made the trip to Washington and is expected to handle the backup duties in the rematch against the Capitals.

SPECIAL TEAMS
The Capitals have the league’s 11th best power play at 20.7% and the league’s 22nd ranked Penalty Kill at 79.0%. For Columbus, their power play is currently ranked dead last in the league at a 14.1% conversion rate. The Jackets penalty kill is currently ranked 27th in the league at 75.2%.

SHAVINGS

  • The Capitals have failed to score first in 10 of their last 11 games, and in 14 of the last 17. Their record is 5-4-1 in those 10 games. (WaPo)
  • In the 22 games the Capitals have scored first this season, they are 17-3-2. In the 31 games their opponent has scored first, they are 14-14-3. (WaPo)
  • Nicklas Backstrom became the fifth player in franchise history to record 200 career goals (Alex Ovechkin: 590; Peter Bondra: 472; Mike Gartner: 397; Mike Ridley: 218) when he scored the game-winning goal with under a minute left on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  • Backstrom is one of five players selected in the 2006 draft to record 200 career goals.
  • Backstrom’s 769 career points (200 goals, 569 assists) rank first among the 2006 draft class, leading Phil Kessel by 55 points.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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3 Responses to Game Preview: Blue Jackets at Capitals – Round Two

  1. Anonymous says:

    As of today, theres a 99% chance of being in the playoffs. SO lets talk young D for Grubbie and a pick or prospect… I see the Caps playing the Flyers in the first round, Devils v Pens and Col v Bruins… It is a toss up…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DayOne Caps Fanatic says:

    Approximately 215 active Defensemen in the NHL. Caps have #215. He plays every night, and it shows. Caps MUST trade for a real defenseman, not a “We hope he learns the game” defenseman, or they will fail in the playoffs as usual

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: News and Notes from Friday’s Capitals Morning Skate: A Bad Birthday Present | NoVa Caps

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