The Washington Capitals made their way to Music City Monday afternoon in advance of their game against the Predators tonight in Nashville. Puck drop is set for just after 8:00 PM ET.
The skate was optional this morning for the team. Coach Laviolette met with the media following the skate where he announced Ilya Samsonov will get the start in goal tonight against the Predators.
Laviolette also stated that T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha skated yesterday at MedStar. Both did not make the trip to Nashville.
Some positive Capitals news: T.J. Oshie (IR) skated yesterday. He was injured Jan. 15. He was skating with Anthony Mantha (LTI).
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) February 15, 2022
Vitek Vanecek, who made the trip with the team, watched morning skate from the bench in full goalie gear, and was likely to get ice time after the team’s workout.
Peter Laviolette returns to Nashville – a place where he racked up 248 wins in six seasons – for the first time as the head coach of the Caps and is one win shy from becoming the 10th coach in NHL history to reach the 700-win milestone.
The Capitals face the Nashville Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena for the second and final time this season. The Capitals defeated the Predators 5-3 on Dec. 29, 2021, at Capital One Arena.
Tonight’s tilt will be another fairly even matchup. The Predators have the league’s 8th best power play and 14th ranked penalty kill, but take the league’s most penalties. The Capitals have the better shot differential so far this season.
Alex Ovechkin enters the game with goals in two of his last three games against the Predators (3g) and is currently on a four-game point streak against Nashville (3g, 3a).
The Capitals are 14-5-4 on the road this season and boast the second-highest points percentage (.696) in the NHL. Washington’s 2.52 allowed goals per game on the road ranks fourth in the NHL, while their 3.35 goals per game rate ranks seventh. The Capitals are one of five teams to rank in the top-10 in both respective categories. Over the last two seasons, the Capitals’ .706 road points percentage ranks first (33-12-6 record).
Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 24 points (13g, 11a) in 22 road games this season, while Nicklas Backstrom has recorded seven points (2g, 5a) in seven road games since his return from injury. Ovechkin’s 383 career goals on the road are the second most in NHL history, only trailing Wayne Gretzky (402).
Daily Twitter Poll
We asked folks on Twitter if they felt the loss of famed goaltending coach Mitch Korn in the Barry Trotz departure has had any impact on this season’s goaltending:
#ALLCAPS Afternoon ask: The loss of goaltending coach Mitch Korn with the departure of Barry Trotz has:
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) February 13, 2022
COVID Protocols Update
Capital One Arena provided an update on vaccination and mask requirements, with changes beginning today.
Samsonov’s chances have to be dwindling. Caps are doing everything they can to give him the chance.
Losing Mitch Korn was arguably as big a loss as losing Barry Trotz.