Photo: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Capitals began a five-game road trip with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Capitals will be north of the border to clash with the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Action from Calgary begins at 9 P.M. ET on NBC Sports Washington.
The Capitals continued a three-game win streak and took two points in the Windy City, improving to 6-2-2. Washington is fourth in the league and sits at the top of the Metropolitan Division with fourteen points. Washington has a 39-43-2 record against Calgary.
Last season, Washington won the series against Calgary. Both matches ended with a score of 4-3. The first game was on October 27 at Scotiabank Saddledome and resulted in a successful shootout for the Capitals. A February 1 regulation win against the Flames at Capital One Arena brought hope for the Capitals after a difficult January. A postgame brawl between the two teams occurred indicating there may be some unfinished business left when they see each other again.
Defenseman John Carlson has been on a hot streak since the beginning of the season. The alternate captain remains the leader in points (18) and in assists (15). Forward T.J. Oshie leads the Capitals with 7 goals and captain Alex Ovechkin has picked up six goals over the course of ten games.
Braden Holtby had his best game of the season in Sunday’s win. The goaltender made 41 saves, allowed 3 goals, and had a .932 save percentage. With goals-against average of 3.70, Holtby improved his save percentage to .878 and posted a 3-1-2 record. The Capitals netminder has a 5-2-1 history against the Flames. His save percentage stands at .890 with goals-against average of 3.06.
Washington’s special teams got off to a shaky start. Currently, in the NHL’s top ten on the power play, the Capitals have a 27% efficiency. The team is 85.7% efficient on the penalty kill, which still ranks them tenth. Oshie continues to lead with four power play goals. Defensemen Tyler Lewington and Radko Gudas each have 17 penalty minutes that have mostly come from fighting majors. (Game notes here.)
Caps lines at practice in Calgary: 8-19-77, 62-92-43, 13-20-21, 28-26-18, 6-74 (reunited!) 9-3, 34-33.
— John Walton (@WaltonCaps) October 21, 2019
Calgary was one of the league’s best teams last season. The Flames finished with 107 points, went 50-25-7, and clinched the title of Western Conference Champions. They were swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This season, the Flames have gone 5-4-1 and sit fourth in the Pacific Division and eleventh overall. Calgary closed-out their two-game California road trip with a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at Honda Center. Tuesday’s battle with the Capitals starts a quick two-game homestand for the Flames, who have gone 3-0-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary has a 45-37-2 record against Washington.
Forward Johnny Gaudreau leads the Flames with eight points. In ten games played, center Elias Lindholm has picked up five goals. Recording six assists, center Matthew Tkachuk is the team leader with Gaudreau one assist shy of that.
Cam Talbot helped lead Calgary to a victory in Anaheim. The goaltender made 29 saves, allowed one goal, and posted a .967 save percentage. His record against the Capitals is 3-5-0, a save percentage of .916, and 2.48 goals-against average. Talbot relieved David Rittich at the start of the third period during Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Czech goaltender allowed four goals in forty minutes of play. Rittich faced 28 shots, made 24 saves, and recorded a .857 save percentage in the 4-1 loss at Staples Center.
Ranked 23rd in the league, the Flames currently have a 15.7% power play efficiency. Their penalty kill is in the top five of the NHL with an 87.5% efficiency when a man down. Lindholm leads Calgary with two power play goals while forward Milan Lucic has 26 penalty minutes.
By Della Young