The Washington Capitals are back in action after a little bit of time off during the All-Star Break. On Monday night, the Capitals went to Montreal and got some payback against the Canadiens as they defeated the Habs 4-2. The Capitals managed to get the road win without the services of Alex Ovechkin, who was serving his mandatory 1-game suspension.
The Capitals have a chance to seek more payback, as they will face the struggling Nashville Predators on Wednesday night. Nashville is currently sitting on the outside of the playoff bubble. On Friday, the Capitals will return north of the border as they will face the rebuilding Ottawa Senators. While both matchups are winnable, the Capitals must bring their A-game and give a complete effort to gain the four points up for grabs this week.
PREPARE FOR FEBRUARY
February kicks off with a fierce schedule for the Capitals. The good news for the Capitals is that they will begin the month with four straight home games. Those four home games include matchups with Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York (Islanders).
The three Metropolitan Division rivals the Capitals will see in the upcoming weeks are all jockeying for position in the standings. The Penguins and Islanders are right behind the Capitals in the standings, and the Flyers are in a tough battle for the two wild card positions.
The standings are still tight in the Metropolitan Division, so the Capitals cannot afford to have any lengthy stretches or lulls. In addition, the Capitals must win the “winnable” games and compete hard against the teams not in a playoff position.
CAPITALS PLAYING AT HIGH LEVELS
Alex Ovechkin is rolling with his current play, as he is coming off back-to-back hat tricks before the All-Star break.
Jakub Vrana is on a nine-game point streak, and has upped his game and consistency. Vrana needs just one goal to tie his single-season high in goals from a season ago (24). In addition, he needs only five more points to tie his single-season high in points (47).
Braden Holtby has had an up-and-down season, but was an NHL All-Star selection this season. Holtby played at an elite level against the Habs on Monday night. Holtby made 31 saves against the Habs, and recorded a .939 save percentage in that contest. This type of goaltending performance will be needed for the Capitals if they aim to make a long postseason run.
CONTINUE TO WORK OUT THE KINKS ON THE POWERPLAY
As the regular season approaches the latter stages, the games will get tougher and more competitive. The Capitals must find ways to work out the kinks on the powerplay. On Monday night, the Capitals received a powerplay goal from Tom Wilson. It was a different look because of Alex Ovechkin’s absence, but it was something that appeared to work.
The Capitals must create some new techniques for the powerplay before the postseason begins. If the Capitals can get their powerplay up and scoring consistently, it will only increase their chances of making a long postseason run.
By: George Foussekis