The Washington Capitals continue their three-game California road trip Thursday night in Hollywood as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and Tom Wilson look to star in an epic contest against the Los Angeles Kings. Prior to the game, the Caps held a morning skate at Staples Center, a place that they haven’t won a game at since December 14, 2005. To put things in perspective, that win came during Ovechkin’s rookie year. Here are the news and notes to get you ready for tonight’s game.
THE MORNING LINES
The lines at morning skate looked like this:
Starter’s net: Philipp Grubauer
Philipp Grubauer will get the start tonight. In his career against the Kings, Grubauer is 2-1-0 with a .960 save percentage and a 1.34 goals-against average including a shutout. Grubauer comes into tonight’s game having won four starts in a row. This will be his second straight appearance on the California trip after he came on in relief in the second period in Tuesday night’s game at Anaheim after Braden Holtby allowed three unanswered goals. Grubauer stopped all eight shots he faced.
There’s no denying that Holtby has struggled lately. There was a good thread on Twitter by former Capitals goaltender Brent Johnson where he gives his thoughts on the matter, you can view that here. Having dropped seven of his last eight starts, Barry Trotz said he is resting Holtby tonight to give him a bit of a reset and will go one game at a time as to who starts in net.
Trotz said he wants this to be a “little reset” Holtby. Caps are going to take it one game at a time in net. Holtby said it’s good that he has to earn it now and that Grubauer is getting rewarded for playing well.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) March 8, 2018
There were some changes to the lines. On the forwards, Alex Chiasson was in for Chandler Stephenson. For the blueline, Jakub Jerabek was in for Christian Djoos on the third defensive pair with Brooks Orpik.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 7, 2018
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 8, 2018
- Nicklas Backstrom is scheduled to play in his 800th NHL/Capitals game tonight against the Los Angeles Kings, becoming the seventh player in franchise history to reach the 800 game mark.
- Alex Ovechkin is two goals shy of 600 career goals. If he scores two goals within his next 12 games, he would become the fourth player in NHL history to record 600 career goals in under 1,000 games (Wayne Gretzky: 718 games, Mario Lemieux: 719 games, Brett Hull: 900 games. (Elias Sports Bureau)
- Jay Beagle has won 37 of his last 41 face-offs (90.24 percent), including 22 out of 24 in the defensive zone (91.67 percent) and five out of six shorthanded (83.3 percent).
- Since Jan. 31, the Capitals have the most successful power play in the NHL (12 goals on 39 opportunities, 30.8 percent). During that time frame, nine different Capitals have recorded a power play point.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov has 16 multi-point games this season, second on the Capitals (Alex Ovechkin: 18), and has 31 career multi-assist game and nine this season.
- This season, the Capitals are 18-11-4 against teams currently in a playoff position, the seventh-best points percentage (.606) and a 99-point pace over the course of an 82-game season.
- The Caps have recorded 60 goals in the first period, tied for the 10th-most in the NHL through games played March 6.
- The Capitals have scored at least one goal in the first period in four of their last five games. Additionally, Washington is 23-3-3 in games where they score the game’s first goal.
CAPS RED LINE
— MonumentalSportsNet (@MonSportsNet) March 8, 2018
CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Three Russians and two Kendall’s walk into a bar…. pic.twitter.com/66Jk4ruGZk
— WEAGLE Girl – Sonia (@slkendall11) March 7, 2018
By Michael Marzzacco