The Washington Capitals held their gameday morning skate Friday morning at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The Capitals battle the Blues tonight with puck drop set for 8:00 PM ET. (NBCSW, NHLN).
The team announced on Friday morning that Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie did not travel with the team to St. Louis. They will miss both games this weekend and were both placed on injured reserve.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) January 7, 2022
The Capitals also announced that Martin Fehervary and Dennis Cholowski have been returned to the active roster and Michal Kempny has been re-assigned to the taxi squad.
#ALLCAPS defensemen metrics and goals differentials (5v5) thru the first 34 games. The Orlov-Jensen pairing continues to lead the way.
Caps/Laviolette testing Kempny with plenty of TOI and defensive zone starts, but with mixed-to-negative results. Cholowski holds current edge. pic.twitter.com/KHr5bUa4eK
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) January 7, 2022
Ilya Samsonov will get the start tonight in goal. Samsonov and Zach Fucale were the only netminders on the ice for this morning’s workout. Vitek Vanecek did travel with the team but did not skate this AM, per team.
Ilya Samsonov and Zach Fucale are the only two goalies on the ice this morning for the Capitals.
No sign of Vitek Vanecek (technically still in Covid protocols though he’s been practicing with the team).
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 7, 2022
According to Laviolette, Connor McMichael will be a healthy scratch tonight.
Battling The Blues
The Capitals begin a two-game road trip tonight when they face the St. Louis Blues at 7 p.m. CT. This marks Washington’s first game against St. Louis since Oct. 2, 2019, a 3-2 overtime win at Enterprise Center.
The Blues have the league’s best power play. The Capitals have the better possession numbers and ‘goals for’ differential. The Blues have the better ‘goals against’ differential.
The Capitals have a 10-3-3 record on the road this season and their .719 road point percentage ranks tied for second in the NHL (Carolina Hurricanes: .750; Pittsburgh Penguins: .719).
Through 16 road games, Washington has scored 3.44 goals per game and have allowed 2.63 goals against per game, which rank third and sixth in the NHL respectively. The Capitals are one of three teams to rank in the top six in each category (Toronto Maple Leafs: 3.38 GF/GP ranks tied for fifth, 2.62 GA/GP ranks fifth; Pittsburgh Penguins: 3.38 GF/GP ranks tied for fifth, 2.25 GA/GP ranks first).
The Capitals have earned a point in 11 of their last 13 road games (8-2-3) dating back to Nov. 4 and own the NHL’s top road record since the start of the 2020-21 season (29-10-5, 63 points). Additionally, The Capitals have won four of their last five games on the road against the Blues (4-1-0).
By Jon Sorensen