Vitek Vanecek To Start In Goal: News From Capitals’ Optional Morning Skate In Dallas

The Washington Capitals made their way to the Lone Star State Thursday afternoon following practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. They Capitals will face Braden Holtby and the Dallas Stars Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas

The team held an optional morning skate Friday in Dallas. Coach Laviolette said after the skate that Vitek Vanecek will get the start in goal.

The Capitals will look to improve upon their 11-5-4 road record tonight. Washington’s five regulation losses on the road are tied for the fewest in the NHL and their .650 road point percentage ranks fifth in the League. The Capitals have earned points in six straight games against Dallas, dating back to Dec. 19, 2017 (3-0-3).

Facing The Beast

Former Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby will get the start in goal tonight for the Stars. Holtby spoke to Capitals Radio host Ben Raby on the “Caps This Morning” podcast prior to Washington’s first tilt of the season against Dallas.

“The bulk of my career has been there and that’s home to me. There was a point [when] I never thought I’d see myself in a different uniform. I have nothing but positive things to say about everyone there. I owe a lot of my career and life to those people in the organization right from ownership down…Times change and different experiences lead you [in] different ways. It’s obviously special we completed the main goal with the team drafted by and spent a ton of time with…not many people get to do that, so pretty fortunate.” More from the interview with Holtby can be found here.

Holtby met with the media following the Stars morning skate on Friday. He was asked about facing his his old teammates.

Holtby was also presented with a silver stick this morning, commemorating his 500th career game that occurred back in November.

Special Teams

Special teams will once again be a key for the Capitals tonight. The Stars have the league’s fourth-best power play, but the league’s 24th-ranked penalty kill.

Sergei Zubov

On the night the Dallas Stars are retiring Hall of Fame defenseman Sergei Zubov’s number, Alex Ovechkin enters the game one assist shy of passing Zubov for the third-most assists by a Russian in NHL history. Ovechkin and Zubov trail only Sergei Fedorov (696a) and Evgeni Malkin (686a) on the all-time list. Ovechkin played two NHL games against Zubov, scoring one goal.

Outside The DMV

  • The New York Rangers will officially retire goaltender Henrik Lundqvist’s number 30 tonight in New York City.
  • Drake Batherson is expected to miss at least two months with a high ankle sprain after taking a controversial hit from Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell during Tuesday night’s contest, Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith announced Thursday.

By Jon Sorensen

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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