Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
After defeating the Chicago Blackhawks both times they faced them in preseason play, the Washington Capitals are back at United Center for a regular-season rematch on Sunday, and kick off a five-game road trip. Washington currently sits second in the Metropolitan Division and sixth in the league with twelve points. Action from the Windy City begins at 7:00 P.M. ET on NHL Network and NBC Sports Washington.
The Capitals were victorious Friday night as they won 5-2 against the New York Rangers. They closed out a three-game homestand at 2-1 and improved to 5-2-2. Last season, Washington secured a 4-2 win over Chicago on November 21 at Capital One Arena but fell 8-5 at United Center on February 20. The Capitals have a record of 44-43-1 against the Blackhawks. In addition, the team has gone 3-1-0 on the road this season.
Defenseman John Carlson leads the Capitals with an incredible 17 points. Three of Carlson’s 14 assists came during Friday’s win over the Rangers. Forward T.J. Oshie has six goals for Washington with captain Alex Ovechkin just one goal shy of that. It has been seven months since Michal Kempny was on the ice and in the lineup officially. In his first game back from injury, the Czech defenseman picked up his first goal of the season.
Forward Richard Panik is week-to-week with an upper-body injury after a nasty second-period collision with defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler during Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was placed on long-term injured reserve on Friday morning, but will not need surgery. Siegenthaler was a game-time decision in the Capitals’ tilt with the Rangers and did play.
Saturday morning, the Capitals re-assigned defenseman Martin Fehervary to the AHL’s Hershey Bears after recalling him and forward Travis Boyd on Friday morning. Fehervary would have joined the lineup if Siegenthaler was not able to play.
Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to start Sunday night’s game, according to Head Coach Todd Reirden. He holds a record of 2-1-2, save percentage of .862, and has a goals-against average of 3.83. In Friday’s victory, the netminder made 26 saves, allowed two goals, and had a .929 save percentage. Against the Blackhawks, Holtby is 8-3-0, which includes a .913 save percentage and 2.88 goals-against average.
Improving their power play, the Capitals are now 10th in the league with a 25% efficiency and sit 11th in the NHL with an 83.3% efficient penalty kill. Oshie has recorded three power play goals for the Capitals.
GAME PREVIEW: The Capitals seek their third straight win tonight in Chicago against the Blackhawks. Washington has won eight of its last 11 games against Chicago and has posted an 11-5-0 record in its last 16 games against the Blackhawks. pic.twitter.com/B5AjAUiNbL
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 20, 2019
Chicago finished the 2018-19 season with 84 points. They went 36-34-12 and finished sixth in the Western Conference’s Central Division and 20th in the league. This season, the Blackhawks sit fifth in the Central Division and 25th overall with five points. They defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Friday at United Center and are now 2-2-1. Sunday night’s battle with the Capitals is the fifth game in a seven-game homestand for Chicago. They have a 2-1-1 record at home this season and a history of 44-41-3 against Washington.
Forward Patrick Kane leads the team in points (7) and assists (5). Kane and forwards Alex Debrincat, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, and Alexander Nylander all lead with two goals each.
Blackhawks’ goaltender, Robin Lehner, has gone 1-0-1 in two games played. His goals-against average is 2.46 and he has a .931 save percentage. In Friday’s win over the Blue Jackets, he made 37 saves, allowed two goals, and posted a save percentage of .949. Chicago’s other netminder, Corey Crawford, has a 1-2-0 record thus far. His last start came on October 14 when the ‘Hawks hosted the Edmonton Oilers in a 3-1 win. Crawford has a save percentage of .900, 3.41 goals-against average, and has allowed 10 goals in three games played.
Behind the Capitals on power play rankings, the Blackhawks are 23.1% effective on the man-advantage, and 25th in the league when a man down at 70.6%. Debrincat’s two goals have come on the power play. He scored his latest during the win over Columbus on Friday. Shaw has 10 penalty minutes, six of which came during his last two games.
We’re gonna miss you DC!!
See you in November.
— Washington 👻 Capitals (@Capitals) October 19, 2019
By Della Young