Washington at Colorado Preview: Road Warriors Continue Trip In NHL’s Most Hostile Building

Photo: Mile High Hockey

The Washington Capitals clash with the Colorado Avalanche for the second and final time this season in the Mile High City on Monday. The Capitals took the first meeting by a score of 6-3 at Capital One Arena on October 19 when the Avalanche played without captain Gabriel Landeskog, right-wing Valeri Nichushkin, and defenseman Devon Toews.

The Capitals have won their past two visits and five of their past six to Denver. Action from Ball Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington locally or NHL Network nationally beginning at 9 PM ET.

Schedule

The Capitals continue a season-long five-game road trip where they have split the first two games. After a 7-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, they bounced back with an 8-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

The Avalanche conclude a four-game homestand and host a Metropolitan Division opponent for the third straight game. They have taken each of the first three games by a combined score of 19-8, most recently a 7-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Records

Capitals: 23-8-4 on road (first in NHL), 7-1-1 in past nine road games and 12-3-1 in their past 16

Avalanche: 31-4-3 at home (first), six straight wins at Ball Arena where they are 10-1-1 in their past 12

How Each Team Is Doing

Capitals: 5-1-0 in their past six and 14-5-1 since losing three straight in regulation from February 24-28

Avalanche: league-best 14-1-1 since losing four of five (1-3-1) in early March, have won nine straight and are 10-0-1 in their past 11

Standings

Capitals: Second wild-card in Eastern Conference, fourth in Metropolitan Division with 94 points and .627 points percentage, respectively; three points behind Boston Bruins for first wild-card spot (with each team down to seven games remaining) and Pittsburgh Penguins for third in Metropolitan (with two games in hand)

Avalanche: Clinched top seed in Western Conference on Saturday; NHL-leading 116 points and .773 points percentage; four points ahead of Florida Panthers (who have a game in hand) in Presidents’ Trophy race

Team Leaders

Capitals

Points: LW Alex Ovechkin, 86 (15th in NHL)
Goals: Ovechkin, 47 (fourth)
Assists: D John Carlson, 52 (Tied-19th)
Plus-Minus: D Nick Jensen, +33 (14th)
TOI-per-game: D John Carlson, 23:46 per game (22nd)

Additional Notes: Ovechkin, 36, has 18 goals and 28 points in 27 games since the NHL All-Star Break; Carlson, 32, has four goals and 10 points during a six-game point-streak; D Dmitry Orlov has two goals, five points, and a +6 rating in his last three games after a four-point night in the Capitals’ 8-4 win in Montreal; Jensen, 31, has a +10 rating in his last five; C Lars Eller has three goals and seven points during a four-game point-streak; C Johan Larsson has a goal and four points during a three-game point-streak and five points in his last five; C Nic Dowd has two goals and five points over a three-game point-streak and six points in his last five; LW Anthony Mantha has two goals and seven points in his last four after a four-point game on Saturday; RW Tom Wilson’s four-game point-streak (three goals, five points) ended in Montreal but the 28-year-old has nine goals and 18 points in his last 21; C Evgeny Kuznetsov has 31 assists and 46 points over his last 46

Avalanche

Points: RW Mikko Rantanen, 91 (ninth)
Goals: Rantanen, 36 (T-15th)
Assists: C Nazem Kadri, 57 (T-10th)
Plus-Minus: Toews, +52 (T-third)
TOI-per-game: D Cale Makar, 25:35 (seventh)                                                    Points-Per-Game: C Nathan MacKinnon, 1.42 (fourth)

Additional Notes: The Avalanche have five regulars averaging at least a point-per-game this season (MacKinnon, Kadri: 1.28, Rantanen: 1.26, Landeskog: 1.16, Makar: 1.15) – all rank among the top-24 in the NHL; MacKinnon, 26, has nine goals and 14 points in his last seven after scoring five goals and seven points in his last three; Rantanen, 25, has 10 goals and 26 points in his past 18, including four assists and five points during a three-game point-streak; Makar, 23, has two goals and seven points over his last five and leads NHL defensemen with 26 goals this season; Toews, 28, has 10 assists and 11 points in his last 10; Nichushkin has seven goals and 15 points in his last 14, including two goals and six points during a four-game point-streak; Former Capitals LW Andre Burakovsky has four goals and 12 points in his last 10, including two goals and five points over a three-game point-streak; C Alex Newhook has six assists and eight points over his last eight; LW Arturri Lehkonen has a goal and four points in his last three

Team Stats 

The first graphic shows game averages for the Capitals and Avalanche entering Monday. While the Avalanche have the advantage in goals-for and against per game, the Capitals are the better team on the penalty kill where the Avalanche rank 17th in the NHL and draw as one spot separates the two teams (who are 28th and 29th, respectively).

The second graphic lays out the possession metrics for the Capitals and Avalanche, who have the advantage in every category except shooting percentage.

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Capitals: Vitek Vanecek, 26
19-11-5
.909 save percentage
2.67 goals-against average (tied for 18th)
Three shutouts (tied for 11th)                                                                                           First career start vs. COL

Avalanche: Darcy Kuemper, 31
36-9-3 (tied for second wins with Sergei Bobrovsky of Panthers), one behind Juuse Saros of Nashville Predators for league lead
.925 save percentage (third)
2.41 goals-against average (sixth)
Five shutouts (tied for third with Igor Shesterkin of New York Rangers)                                                                                                                  1-2-0, .914 save percentage, 3.06 goals-against average in three career games vs. WSH, including 34 saves on 39 shots-against (.872 save percentage) on October 19

Injuries/Illnesses

Capitals

* LW Carl Hagelin (eye, will miss 20th straight game, out indefinitely)

* LW Joe Snively (lower-body, 20th, week-to-week)

Avalanche

* Landeskog (knee, 17th, indefinite)

* Kadri (upper-body, eighth, indefinite)

* RHD Ryan Murray (hand/wrist, 13th, week-to-week)

Projected Lineups

Capitals

Ovechkin — Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary
Marcus Johansson — Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Mantha — Lars Eller — Wilson
Larsson — Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary — Carlson
Orlov — Jensen
Trevor Van Riemsdyk — Justin Schultz

Vanecek
Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: McMichael, LW Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LHD Michal Kempny, LHD Matt Irwin

Avalanche

Burakovsky — MacKinnon — Rantanen

Lehkonen — J.T. Compher — Nichushkin

Newhook — Nico Sturm — Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Andrew Cogliano — Ben Meyers — Logan O’Connor

Toews — Makar

Samuel Girard — Josh Manson

Bowen Byram — Jack Johnson

Kuemper

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: C Darren Helm

Game Notes

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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1 Response to Washington at Colorado Preview: Road Warriors Continue Trip In NHL’s Most Hostile Building

  1. Anonymous says:

    Huge test! Let’s see what we got with a full lineup.

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