The Washington Capitals are in the middle of a five-game homestand, and have performed very well in this early November stretch. While they dropped their first game in overtime against Dallas, the Capitals have responded with wins over Edmonton and Pittsburgh. With two home games left over the weekend, the Capitals will get more action from the Metropolitan Division as they square off against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Puck drop is on Friday evening at 7 PM ET on NBC Sports Washington.
The Blue Jackets (8-6-1) are hanging tough in the Metropolitan Division race. They are coming off a 4-1 home win against Dallas on Tuesday night. Their matchup versus the Capitals is the first game of a back-to-back scenario, as they will face the New York Rangers 24 hours later back in Columbus.
Leading the way for the Jackets is the “Bread Man,” Artemi Panarin. Panarin has recorded 5 goals and 16 points in 15 games. Alongside Panarin is 20-year old Pierre-Luc Dubois, who was taken 3rd overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Dubois has recorded 6 goals and 10 points in 15 games.
While the Jackets are competing well, their special teams have not been very good. The Jackets powerplay is just 11.9% effective, which is ranked 30th in the NHL. Their penalty kill is 75.5% effective, which is ranked 24th in the NHL.
The Jackets are young, talented, and scrappy under Head Coach John Tortorella. The players play hard and play with a lot of intensity for their fiery Head Coach. Here are the expected Jackets lineup combinations for the matchup against Washington:
#CBJ lines & d-pairings:
— Brian Hedger (@BrianHedger) November 8, 2018
The Capitals are coming off an emotional 2-1 victory against the Penguins at home. The game had a playoff feeling to it, and there was plenty of snarl shown between both clubs.
T.J. Oshie had a very rough night against Pittsburgh and took a physical beating, but scored the game-winning goal to down the Penguins with under two minutes remaining in the game. The Capitals were badly outshot 42-22 in the game, but Braden Holtby was outstanding as he made 41 saves in the contest.
There was a lot of talk after last night’s game about Evgeni Malkin facing supplemental discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety with his shoulder hit to T.J. Oshie’s head. As it turns out, Malkin will not face any discipline.
As tweeted last night, got the sense that Malkin won’t face supplemental discipline for his high hit on Oshie. Maybe things changed overnight, but expect DoPS to see the major and match penalty as sufficient.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) November 8, 2018
While the Capitals squeaked out a victory against Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening, there is always room for improvement. The Capitals missed a golden opportunity to tally on the powerplay with the major penalty to Evgeni Malkin. These things are correctable, but the powerplay is still performing very well at 34% effectiveness.
The Capitals were a bit loose and careless in front of their own net against Pittsburgh, but they are missing some of their tougher players with Brooks Orpik on the injured list and Tom Wilson on suspension.
The Capitals are 5-1-2 at home this season, and will close their current homestand with Arizona on Sunday.
Capitals coach Todd Reirden on Evgeni Malkin’s hit on T.J. Oshie: “Those are things we’re trying to remove from the game. Of all teams, we know that from dealing with it on the other end.”
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) November 8, 2018
A LOOK BACK IN TIME
Here is Lar’s Eller game-winning double overtime goal in Columbus from Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
By: George Foussekis