The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate this morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. They host the Eastern Conference-leading Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM on ESPN+ and Hulu.
The team recalled goaltender Zach Fucale Thursday morning. Ilya Samsonov, who left practice early on Wednesday, is out and Fucale will backup Vitek Vanecek tonight against the Hurricanes. Samsonov worked with goalie coach Scott Murray after practice.
Ilya Samsonov coming on the ice now to work with goalie coach Scott Murray.
He left practice yesterday to be stung by a high shot.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 3, 2022
Coach Laviolette would not commit to whether Anthony Mantha would start tonight. He said he needed to meet with him and the trainers.
Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette wouldn’t reveal one way or the other if Anthony Mantha will be good to go tonight, said he would have to talk to trainers, see how he is.
Mantha has been sidelined since getting shoulder surgery in early Nov.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) March 3, 2022
Laviolette also said that Justin Schultz (upper body) is expected to play tonight against the Hurricanes.
Remaining Games And Strength Of Schedule
Metropolitan Division: Remaining games and strength of schedule (avg of opposition winning %) :#LetsGoCanes 29 games – .628%#ALLCAPS 27 games – .631%#CBJ 28 games – .612%#LetsGoPens – 27 games – .631%#NYRangers 28 games – .614% pic.twitter.com/Olm7QIV0H6
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) March 3, 2022
The Captain And Carolina
The Capitals face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight for the second time this season. Washington won the first matchup, 4-2, on Nov. 28, 2021 at PNC Arena. Alex Ovechkin has earned 96 points (44g, 52a) in 82 career games against the Hurricanes, marking the most points he has earned against a single franchise. No active player has more goals, assists and points against the Hurricanes than Ovechkin, and his 44 goals only trail Michel Goulet (62g) and Dave Andreychuk (52) for the most against the franchise in NHL history.
John Carlson, who among active defensemen has the most points against the Carolina Hurricanes (8g, 27a, 35p), recorded three assists on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It marked his second three assist game of the season (Dec. 29 vs. Nashville) and 11th of his career.
Carlson is one of 13 defensemen this season with multiple three-assist games. Carlson has recorded points in six of his last eight games (1g, 8a) and is currently eighth in the NHL in points (43) among defensemen. Since Feb. 1, Carlson’s 10 points (1g, 9a) are tied for fourth among defensemen in the NHL.
Vitek Vanecek enters tonight’s game with a record of 2-2-0, a shutout, a 1.33 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage in his last five outings.
By Jon Sorensen