Jay LePrete/Associated Press
Looking to go 2-0 on their annual Mentors’ Trip after a 5-2 victory in Tampa Bay on Saturday, the Capitals will look to secure their 25th victory of the 2019-20 season on Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Game Action can be seen on NBC Sports Washington at 7:00 PM EST, and heard on the Capitals Radio Network.
The Blue Jackets come into their tilt hosting the Caps off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa on Saturday night. The Blue Jackets hold a record of 8-8-1 at Nationwide Arena this season.
Head Coach John Tortorella’s club sits seventh in the Metropolitan Division with an overall record of 12-14-6 and 30 points, six points behind the New York Rangers for sixth and five points ahead of last-place New Jersey. They sit 13th in the Eastern Conference and 28th in the NHL.
21-year old Center Pierre Luc-Dubois leads the Blue Jackets in scoring with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 32 games played, and also holds the team lead in goals. Offseason signing Gustav Nyquist leads the team in helpers with 13 in 32 games played. In his first season as the team’s number one netminder, Joonas Korpisalo has recorded a 12-10-3 record in 25 games played (24 starts), with a 2.73 Goals-Against Average and .906 Save Percentage, with one shutout. Backup goalie Elvis Merzlikins holds a record of 0-4-3 in nine games played (eight starts), with a Goals-Against Average of 3.41 and Save Percentage of .889.
The Blue Jackets’ Special Teams rank in the bottom half of the league, with their Power Play ranking 21st with a Conversion rate of 17.3%, scoring on 18 of 104 totals opportunities. Their home Power Play Percentage ranks 16th with a Conversion rate of 20.8%. The team’s Penalty Kill ranks 20th with a percentage of 79.1%. In their home barn, Columbus is also 20th, killing 80.8% of the power plays of their opposition. Forward Cam Atkinson leads the team with three tallies on the man-advantage, while defensemen Zack Werenski and Seth Jones, and Luc-Dubois are tied for the team lead with five helpers on the power play.
The Caps are coming off the aforementioned victory against the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday, in a game that featured contributions from all four lines, in the first game of the team’s annual Mentors’ Trip. The Caps are the NHL’s best road team this season, holding a record of 15-3-0 in opposing arenas this season, matching the record for the fewest games to reach 15 road wins in their victory against the Bolts.
The League-leading @Capitals (15-2-1, 31 points) matched the NHL record for fewest games to 15 road wins in a season (18 GP), a mark set by Buffalo in 2006-07 (15-3-0, 30 points). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/iuPpfM0OLH
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 15, 2019
The Capitals are led in scoring by defenseman John Carlson, who paces the Caps with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists) in 34 games played. Captain Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 21 goals, and Carlson leads the team with his 33 helpers on the season. Right Wing T.J. Oshie has scored three goals in his last two games, center Evgeny Kuznetsov has recorded a point (one goal, three assists) in four consecutive games. Number one netminder Braden Holtby holds a record of 16-3-4 in 24 games (all started) this season, with a Goals-Against Average of 2.80 and Save Percentage of .911. Backup goaltender and rookie Ilya Samsonov got the win in the team’s game against the Bolts, pushing his record to 8-2-1 on the season, with a Goals-Against Average of 2.38 and Save Percentage of .918.
The Caps’ Special Teams are once again among the Top 5 in the league. Their Power Play ranks fifth in the NHL with a percentage of 23.5%, scoring on 24 of their 102 man-advantages this season. On the road, the Capitals sit second in the league with the man-advantage with a percentage of 26.4%. Ovechkin leads the team with eight power play tallies, while Carlson leads with 12 assists with the man-advantage. Washington’s penalty kill is 85.1% effective, which puts them fourth in league, having killed 18 of the 121 opposing power plays faced this season. On the road, the Caps’ penalty kill ranks seventh, having killed 83.6% of the opposing man-advantages while away from Capital One Arena. Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler leads all defensemen and skaters with an average of 3:10 of shorthanded ice time a night, while Carl Hagelin is second among skaters and first among forwards with an average of 3:01 of shorthanded ice time a night for Head Coach Todd Reirden.
- Since 2008, the Capitals have posted a record of 16-6-0 on their annual Mentors’ Trip and will look to win both games this season.
- Alex Ovechkin is one power play goal shy of passing Teemu Selanne for the third-most power play goals in NHL history.
- In 23 games played against the Blue Jackets in his career, Evgeny Kuznetsov has 19 points (five goals, 14 assists), and has recorded an assist in one game played against Columbus this season
- In 26 career games played against the Caps, Cam Atkinson has recorded 19 points (12 goals, seven assists), including six (four goals, two assists) in his last four games against the Caps
By Michael Fleetwood