The Washington Capitals returned to MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday following a day off on Monday. The team held morning skate in advance of their tilt with the Winnipeg Jets tonight at Capital One Arena.
T.J. Oshie (upper-body), John Carlson (covid protocols) and Conor Sheary (covid protocols) did not participate in the team’s morning skate. T.J. Oshie is listed as “day-to-day,” per Laviolette. He was hurt in Saturday’s game against the Islanders. The resultant lines at morning skate:
Capitals lines at AM skate ahead of WIN:
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 18, 2022
Vitek Vanecek was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, and thus, expected to get the start in goal tonight against the Jets. The Capitals power play units at morning skate:
Capitals PP1: Shultz, Ovechkin, Wilson, Backstrom, Kuznetsov.
PP2: Orlov, Cholowski, Sprong, Eller, Protas.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 18, 2022
End Of The Jet Set
The Capitals face the Winnipeg Jets tonight for the second and final time this season. Washington beat Winnipeg 5-2 on Dec. 17, 2021, at Canada Life Centre in the most recent matchup. The Capitals have won each of their last eight home games against the Jets, a streak that began on April 13, 2013, and have outscored Winnipeg 32-18 during the run. No active player has more games played (68), goals (49), assists (44) or points (93) against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise than Alex Ovechkin.
The Capitals scored two powerplay goals against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, who have the league’s worst penalty kill. They face the league’s second worst penalty kill tonight. [Click to enlarge]
The Capitals have a slight edge in possession metrics, most notably high-danger goals for percentage (HDGF%). They are also better in ‘Goals For’ differential. The Jets, not surprisingly, hold the edge in goaltending sv% and ‘Goals Against’ differential:
Full game preview is here.
Vanecek – who stopped a season-high 40 shots against the Jets on Dec. 17 in Winnipeg – made 23 saves on Saturday against the New York Islanders to earn his first shutout of the season. Vanecek improved to 7-4-5 on the season with a shutout, a 2.46 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage.
In 18 games this season, Vanecek has a 1.84 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage at five-on-five. Among goaltenders with at least 10 games played, Vanecek has the lowest rebounds allowed per 60 minutes of play at five-on-five (1.77). Additionally, among goaltenders with 55 or fewer games played since 2020-21, Vanecek’s 28 wins are tied for third in the NHL (Jack Campbell, TOR: 36; Frederik Andersen, CAR: 32; Robin Lehner, VGK: 28).
Metropolitan Division Standings
The Capitals started the day in 4th place in the Metropolitan Division after the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Vegas Knights, 5-3, last night in Las Vegas.
The NHL is getting ready to announce rescheduled games for games postponed earlier in the season due to Covid. The Capitals have four games that need to be rescheduled (three road and one home game).
#ALLCAPS have four games (one home, three road) to be rescheduled:
December 21 – Philadelphia — On Road
December 23 – New York Islanders — On Road
December 27 – Ottawa – Home
January 4 – Montreal — On Road https://t.co/edrMQsEKcd
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) January 18, 2022
Outside The District
- Geoff Molson, owner, president and CEO of Groupe CH, announced on Tuesday the appointment of Kent Hughes as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. Hughes signed a five-year contract with the team.
- The league seems to be relaxing some of their Covid testing and border-crossing requirements:
Hearing NHL/NHLPA agreeing on no longer testing asymptomatic players and staff after All-Star. At that point, testing only required for cross-border travel and if a person develops symptoms.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 18, 2022
By Jon Sorensen