The Capitals look to turn things around at Capital One Arena on Saturday night after two tough losses. Barry Trotz has pushed a few different buttons as to what he’ll go with in the lineup at today’s morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Tonight they’ll take on the Buffalo Sabres, the team they defeated on Monday afternoon on the road before the two game slide began.
THE MORNING LINES
There was a different look in the Capitals lines this morning:
Starting goalie: Philipp Grubauer
Scratches: Jakub Vrana (F), Jakub Jerabek (D) and Madison Bowey (D)
Jakub Jerabek, who was acquired on Wednesday from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a fifth round pick in the 2019 draft, joined his new Capitals teammates for the first time on Saturday morning. Jerabek won’t play tonight but will likely get some time on Monday night when the Capitals take on the Blue Jackets on the road.
Jakub Jerabek joins the #Caps for his first on-ice activity with his new team. Here he’s talking with fellow Czech, Michal Kempny. Jerabek got a big stick tap from his new teammates as they gathered moments later. pic.twitter.com/1cwtk71THe
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) February 24, 2018
Madison Bowey, as of now, is still with the Capitals. He was on the ice for the morning skate. There were no changes to the defensive pairs.
On the forwards side, Jakub Vrana will sit out for the fourth time in the last 13 games. Brett Connolly moves from the third line to the second line. Chandler Stephenson moved from the fourth line to the third line and Alex Chiasson moves to the fourth line.
Philipp Grubauer will get the nod in net tonight. Grubauer got the start on Monday afternoon the last time these two teams met and was stellar. He stopped 32-of-34 shots for a .941 save percentage. Grubauer carries a 6-7-3 record on the season but has won his last two starts. In his carrier against the Sabres, Grubauer is 3-1-2 with a 1.34 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage.
According to Capitals head coach Barry Trotz, starting Grubauer had nothing to do with Braden Holtby’s recent play. It was just planned. It looks like Holtby could likely start Monday night in Columbus.
“It was planned and he’s (Grubauer’s) been playing good. He’s been playing well, why wouldn’t I use him. Braden (Holtby) played well last game,” said Trotz
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 23, 2018
CAPS RED LINE
— MonumentalSportsNet (@MonSportsNet) February 24, 2018
CAPS TODAY: In his last 12 games, Andre Burakovsky has recorded eight points (4g, 4a). He and the Caps take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight at Capital One Arena. https://t.co/cPnPUGGsmw pic.twitter.com/ETITuuMjpF
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 24, 2018
RINKSIDE UPDATE: Brett Connolly
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 24, 2018
- Tonight Alex Ovechkin will tie Calle Johansson for most games played in Capitals franchise history with 983. (Tarik El-Bashir/NBC Sports Washington)
- Nicklas Backstrom needs one more assist to pass Shane Down and Frank Mahovlich to rank 100th all-time in NHL history.
- The Capitals are 54-83-15-5 all-time against the Sabres including 8-3-0 in their last 11 meetings.
- In his last 12 games, dating back to Jan. 25 against the Florida Panthers, Andre Burakovsky has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists), five of which are at even strength. This stretch is tied with Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson for the fifth-most on the team.
- Michal Kempny made his Capitals debut on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, recording 14:15 minutes of ice time and a shot. Kempny’s 60.61 shot attempt percentage at five-on-five (20 shot attempts for, 13 against) leads all Capitals defensemen.
- The Capitals have earned a point in 25 of their last 32 games against the Sabres (21-7-4).
- Alex Ovechkin has earned 44 points (28 goals, 16 assists) in 44 career games against the Sabres and has earned 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in his last 12 games against Buffalo.
- Nicklas Backstrom has recorded 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists) in 36 career games against the Sabres.
CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
A meeting of the Jakubs. pic.twitter.com/stwZkw0bK4
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) February 24, 2018
By Michael Marzzacco