News and Notes’ From Capitals’ Morning Skate on Thursday: Attacking the Preds

_50A0184The Washington Capitals held a morning skate on Thursday before their matchup with the Nashville Predators. The Capitals conclude the season with a short two-game homestand and will play the next four on home ice since they have home ice advantage in Rounds 1 and 2. The Capitals fell to the Predators 6-3 back on November 14 in Nashville, the first time the two teams met this season. Here are all of today’s news and notes from the morning skate: 

News

Alex Ovechkin was on the ice for the Capitals’ morning skate after taking a maintenance day yesterday, which related to getting hit from behind into the boards in the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center on Monday and will play tonight. He will be honored prior to the game for playing in his 1000th career game, all with the Capitals, on Sunday in the Capitals’ 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. He leads the league with 46 goals and was labeled as “day-to-day.”

Jay Beagle will miss his second straight game with an “upper-body” injury he suffered in the first period in the Capitals’ game on Sunday in Pittsburgh. Travis Boyd, who was called up from Hershey on Tuesday, will take his spot in the lineup. Head coach Barry Trotz said he expects him back for the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week.

Jakub Vrana, Shane Gersich, and Jakub Jerabek will all draw out of the lineup, meaning that Chandler Stephenson, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Christian Djoos will all be in against Nashville.

Madison Bowey, who was also recalled from Hershey on Tuesday, and Brian Pinho, who was signed to a two-year entry-level contract yesterday after he played at the University of Rhode Island for four seasons, will be a healthy scratch.

Philipp Grubauer will start tonight against Nashville so Braden Holtby will get the nod on Thursday when the Capitals host the New Jersey Devils in the regular season finale.

Capitals’ Lines

Shavings

-The Predators will clinch the Central Division and Western Conference with a win tonight. They can also clinch the Presidents’ Trophy if they win and the Boston Bruins lose to the Florida Panthers in regulation.

Matt Niskanen will play in his 800th career game tonight against the Nashville Predators. Niskanen is one point shy of 30 points (seven goals), despite missing 14 games due to injury. That would mark the fifth-consecutive season Niskanen would reach the 30 point mark.

-This season, the Capitals have 11 players who have reached double-digit goal totals (Alex Ovechkin: 46; Evgeny Kuznetsov: 25; Nicklas Backstrom: 20; Lars Eller: 18; T.J. Oshie: 18; Brett Connolly: 15; John Carlson: 15; Tom Wilson: 14; Jakub Vrana: 13; Andre Burakovsky: 11; Dmitry Orlov: 10). That’s the exact same amount of double-digit goal scorers the Capitals had during the 2016-17 season.

-The Capitals have won 11 of their last 13 games (11-2-0) dating back to March 10, outscoring opponents 47-32. In that span, the Capitals have trailed in each of those 10 games for a total of 114:01 minutes, the lowest in the NHL since March 10.

-This season, the Capitals are 14-6-0 with Michal Kempny in the lineup and 8-2-0 with Jakub Jerabek in the lineup. Since Kempny made his Capitals debut on Feb. 22, Washington has allowed second-fewest goals (52) in the Eastern Conference (Columbus Blue Jackets: 51).

-In his last 30 appearances, Philipp Grubauer is 15-7-2 with a 1.99 goals against average and a .935 save percentage, which is the lowest goals-against average and the highest save percentage among goaltenders with at least 30 appearances during that time frame. Additionally, Grubauer’s .941 save percentage at even strength during that time frame ranks first among goaltenders with at least 30 appearances since Oct. 29.

-Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded an assist against the St. Louis Blues on April 2, giving him 79 points (25 goals) on the year, a new single-season high. On pace for 81 points this season, Kuznetsov is looking to become the 16th player in franchise history to reach the 80 point mark and the first player besides Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to reach the mark since Alexander Semin in the 2009-10 season (40 goals and 84 points).

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By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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2 Responses to News and Notes’ From Capitals’ Morning Skate on Thursday: Attacking the Preds

  1. Caps70 says:

    He played at providence

    Like

  2. Diane Doyle says:

    1) I think everyone stayed healthy and no new injuries – to the best of my knowledge.

    2) The game followed a very similar script as the Vegas game on Superbowl Sunday. Had the lead in 3rd period, blew lead, and then lost near the end of regulation time.

    3) Now the questions: who starts in goal for the playoffs and which 3rd line/4th line make lineups. Is Vrana a healthy scratch for the playoffs?

    Like

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