The Washington Capitals held their game day morning skate at 10:30 a.m. this morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. The Capitals will host the Buffalo Sabres tonight in their season home opener at Capital One Arena. Puck drop set for 7:07 p.m.
Tonight’s game marks the Caps third game against Buffalo this season. Washington recently took both games in Buffalo, on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, and are 7-1-1 in their last nine games against the Sabres.
Capitals lines at morning skate:
Covid related absences list: Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Orlov, Samsonov
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 22, 2021
Vitek Vanecek was the first goaltender off the ice at morning skate and will likely get the start tonight.
Power play units:
PP1: Oshie, Carlson, Backstrom, Wilson and Vrana
PP2: Eller, Schultz, Sprong, Sheary and Panik
Other extras at morning skate: Martin Fehervary and Trevor van Riemsdyk. No Connor McMichael at AM skate, he was added to the taxi squad just yesterday.
Forwards Connor McMichael, Daniel Carr and goalies Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale from the Capitals taxi squad skating now with Trevor van Riemsdylk and Martin Fehervary, who remained on after morning skate.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 22, 2021
The Capitals will be without Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov and Ilya Samsonov for at least the next four games. All four are currently on the NHL’s COVID-19-related absences list. Ilya Samsonov tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov are on the list for being identified as “close contacts”.
The Capitals made it official by recalling Brian Pinho from the Capitals taxi squad.
#Caps recall forward Brian Pinho from taxi squad to NHL active roster.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 22, 2021
Ralph Krueger says Linus Ullmark will start in goal tonight. Kyle Okposo will be a decision at warmup although it sounds like tonight will be a no and “there’s a higher chance he’ll step back in on Sunday.” #Sabres
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) January 22, 2021
- Tonight marks the Capitals first home game since March 4, 2020, against the Philadelphia Flyers, a span of 324 days.
- The Capitals are 26-15-2-2 all-time in home openers and are 15-1-2 in their last 18 home openers.
- Washington has outscored their opponents 15-4 in their last three home openers (2019-20: 2-3 OT vs. Carolina Hurricanes; 2018-19: 7-0 vs. Boston Bruins; 2017-18: 6-1 vs. Montreal Canadiens).
- Nicklas Backstrom has 14 points (1g, 13a) in 12 career home openers, including five assists in his last three games. Backstrom has recorded a multi-assist game in five career home openers.
- The Capitals have a record of 131-47-19 in the previous five seasons at home- the second most points (281) in the NHL.