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Barry Trotz warns Caps about confident Coyotes calling Monday's matchup a 'trap game'

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Barry Trotz warns Caps about confident Coyotes calling Monday's matchup a 'trap game'

The Caps will be looking to win three games in a row for the first time this season when they host the league-worst Coyotes on Monday night.

Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz had the players lined up for the morning skate:

Forwards
Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Smith-Pelly
Stephenson – Eller – Wilson
O’Brien/Walker – Beagle – Chiasson

Defense
Djoos – Carlson
Orpik – Bowey
Orlov – Chorney

Extra: Ness

So, yeah, the forward combos and D-pairs look awfully similar to what we’ve seen in recent games.

RELATED: HOW TO WATCH CAPS-COYOTES

Lineup aside, here's what we were talking about at the morning skate:

  • Braden Holtby is expected to start vs. Arizona, with backup Philipp Grubauer expected to get the nod Tuesday in Buffalo. Why? “We’re trying to establish some traction at home,” Trotz said, referring to the Caps’ 2-3-0 record on F Street. “And obviously Buffalo is sitting there waiting for us. So let’s make sure we take care of business at home. Most nights Grubi is going to get that back-to-back.”
  • Holtby (7-3-0, 2.70 goals against, .921 save percentage) will oppose Scott Wedgewood (1-1-0, 3.41 goals against, .900 save percentage).
  • It’s unclear who the fourth line left wing will be for the Caps as both Liam O’Brien and Nathan Walker came off the ice at the same time.
  • Trotz said he warned his players about overlooking the speedy Coyotes, who are a league-worst 2-12-1 but have won two of their last four games. “I think Phoenix is a very dangerous team. In some ways it’s a little bit of a trap game because you look at the record and go, ‘That’s not a very good record.’ …They’ve won two of their last four games. They look confident.” Trotz added that he thinks Arizona is one of the faster teams in the NHL and is more talented that the record reflects at the moment.
  • One area where Trotz wants to see his team improve is on special teams. The power play is 16th overall (18.6 percent) but just 31st at home (5.3 percent). The uber-skilled unit hasn’t scored a 5-on-4 goal since New Jersey, a span of 10 games. The penalty kill, meanwhile, is 27th with a success rate of 74.6-percent. “If you assess our special teams right now, the penalty kill has had big moments; it’s like a goaltender you make the big save when you need to,” Trotz said. “And they have for the most part [but] we probably have lost a point or two because we weren’t able to get a kill. And we’ve probably lost a point [because we didn't] get an extra goal from the power play.” Trotz added: “Our power play at home is 31st in the league. With that group of guys, it’s got to produce there. They will. We don’t have any worries about that, but it would make things easier.”
  • Brett Connolly (upper body) hit the ice before the morning skate but there is no timetable for his return. He’s missed the past four games.
  • Tyler Graovac (upper body) joined his teammates for the morning skate and is progressing, but Trotz said there’s no timetable for him, either.
  • Matt Niskanen is eligible to come off LTIR Tuesday in Buffalo but that doesn’t seem to be plausible given that he hasn’t started skating with his teammates yet.
  • No update on Andre Burakovsky (thumb surgery) but we know he’s out until sometime next month.

 

MORE CAPITALS: GOOD THING THE CAPS HAVE TWO GREAT GOALIES, RIGHT JAY BEAGLE?

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Game 48: Capitals vs. Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 48: Capitals vs. Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 12:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Flyers will be broadcast on NBC

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Flyers game on NBC Sports' live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

The Capitals (28-15-4) take on the Flyers (22-16-8) Sunday, January 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at  11:30 a.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 12:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington for postgame coverage starting with Caps Extra following the game and Caps Overtime at 3:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

11:30 a.m. — Caps FaceOff
12:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
12:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Flyers on NBC
3:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
3:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

The Capitals-Flyers game is available to stream live here through NBC Sports.  Caps GameTime and Caps Extra is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Flyers game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

CAPITALS-FLYERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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3 reasons the Caps lost to the Canadiens

3 reasons the Caps lost to the Canadiens

The Caps battled through the rust on Thursday to earn a point in New Jersey. On Friday, rust cost them yet again as they fell 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens.

Here's why they lost.

4 shots on goal in the first period

Canadiens goalie Antti Niemi has had his struggles this season. Yes, he has played better since getting claimed off waivers by Montreal, but getting to play against Niemi instead of Carey Price wass a golden opportunity for the Caps to generate some offense. Washington, however, had very little offense to speak at the end of the night. How did they respond with Niemi in net? By getting only four shots in the first period. Four. They finished with 26 shots on goal for the game, but had they come out swinging in the first and put pressure up early on Niemi, they could have gotten a much different result.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FOR CAPS-HABS

Bad passing

After the game, Lars Eller said "It was one of the sloppiest games we've played if not the sloppiest. I don't think we've given up so any odd-man rushes or chances in one game." In no aspect were the Caps more sloppy than with their passing. Here are just a few examples.

A cross-ice backhand pass in the defensive zone? Really? You are not going to be successful trying to make those type of plays and it cost the Caps. They could not maintain possession of the puck or breakout of their zone and it led to several odd-man rushes for Montreal.

Rust

It's not an excuse. The Caps should have played better on Friday regardless, but there's no arguing the fact that rust was a factor. It was abundantly clear that the Caps were out of sync. That will happen when you are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back with no practice time.

Saturday's practice will be absolutely critical since Washington faces a matinee game on Sunday, their third contest in four days.