Vitek Vanecek Will Start Against Blackhawks; Justin Schultz Skates, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom And Conor Sheary All Skate In Non-Contact Jerseys

Following a day off for the team on Wednesday, the Washington Capitals returned to work on Thursday for final preparations in advance of their tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Capital One Arena.

Defenseman Justin Schultz returned to the ice this morning, skated in a full-contact jersey and took line rushes with the team. He is eligible to come off of injured reserve tonight.

T.J. Oshie, Conor Sheary and Nicklas Backstrom all skated this morning, but in non-contact jerseys. Forward pairs and defensive lines at morning skate:

Vitek Vanecek will get the start in goal, per coach Laviolette.

The Capitals face the Chicago Blackhawks tonight for the first time this season. This marks the first time the Capitals have faced the Blackhawks since Oct. 20, 2019, a 5-3 win at United Center.

Washington is currently on an eight-game winning streak against Chicago at Capital One Arena, the longest winning streak the Capitals have ever had against the Blackhawks at home in franchise history and tied with the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets as the longest active home winning streak Washington has against a team.

In his last six games against the Blackhawks, Tom Wilson has 10 points (6g, 4a), and his 0.77 points per game rate against Chicago is his highest rate against any team (excluding Seattle).

The Capitals’ 82 goals this season are tied with the Florida Panthers for first in the NHL. 22 different players have goals for the Capitals this season, tied with the Anaheim Ducks for the second-most scorers in the NHL (Vegas Golden Knights: 23 scorers). The Capitals had 22 goal scorers all of last season. In addition, the Capitals 3.57 goals per game ranks fifth in the NHL. The Capitals are currently on pace to record the second-highest goal scoring rate over the last 20 seasons in franchise history (2009-10: 3.82).

The Capitals additionally lead the NHL in five-on-five goals (61). Over the course of an 82-game season, the Capitals are on pace for 217 five-on-five goals, which would be a NHL record since the League began tracking the data in 2009-10. Washington defensemen have combined for 59 points this season, the fourth-most in the NHL.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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1 Response to Vitek Vanecek Will Start Against Blackhawks; Justin Schultz Skates, T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom And Conor Sheary All Skate In Non-Contact Jerseys

  1. Anonymous says:

    Vanecek is the right call. Not Samsonov’s fault, last game. Faced 51 shots which is ridiculous. Vanecek needs a start to stay sharp.

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