The Caps will look to build on Saturday’s strong performance vs. Minnesota when Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames come calling Monday night at Capital One Arena.
Here’s how Washington is expected to line up:
Stephenson – Backstrom – Oshie
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Smith-Pelly
Vrana – Eller – Wilson
Connolly – Beagle – Chiasson
Orpik – Carlson
Orlov – Niskanen
Chorney – Bowey
So, yeah, no changes up front or on the backend.
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Now for some notes, quotes and observations from the morning skate:
- Braden Holtby (11-4-0/2.56 gaa/.921 Sv%) is expected to start for the Caps. He’s won seven of his last nine starts and his 11 Ws are tied for third most in the NHL. The Flames are expected to start Mike Smith (10-6-0/2.70 gaa/.919 Sv%).
#Flames projected line-up vs. #Capitals:— Derek Wills (@Fan960Wills) November 20, 2017
- Including their win over Philipp Grubauer and Caps on Oct. 29, the Flames have won six of eight games to move into third place in the Pacific Division.
- Leading the way for the Flames is Johnny Gaudreau, who has six goals and 10 assists during in the Flames’ last eight games. Gaudreau will likely match up against the Nicklas Backstrom line. Here’s what T.J. Oshie had to say about facing Gaudreau (it comes after he addresses the power play, which I’ll get to in a second.)
“Nicky and Kuzy are getting more and more comfortable w/ each other...” —T.J. Oshie on the #Caps’ power play, which has 6 goals the last 5 games. (He also discusses matching up w/ a red hot Johnny Gaudreau.) pic.twitter.com/e0lU97Eocu— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikNBCS) November 20, 2017
- One thing that’s been pretty consistent for the Caps over the past couple of weeks has been the power play. After a bit of a dry spell, the unit has been (finally) getting some opportunities—and it’s been cashing in. Over the last five games, in fact, the power play has scored six times on 22 opportunities. Oshie has three of those goals, while Kuznetsov has chipped in with a pair.
- The Flames, by the way, have the NHL’s worst penalty kill at 70.6-percent.
- The Caps will be going for their sixth straight win at home against Calgary. In the previous five games on F Street, they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined 16-8.
- Since Matt Niskanen returned to the lineup vs. the Predators, John Carlson’s ice time has come down to a more manageable figure. Carlson had been leading the league at 27:20 prior to No. 2’s return. Over the past three games, however, he’s skated 25:26, 24:53 and 24:55.
- Game day skates typically begin around 10:15 when the Caps are at home. Sometimes scratches, the goalies and players toward the bottom of the lineup go out early to get a little extra work. On Monday, star center Evgeny Kuznetsov was on the ice at least 15 minutes early, working one-on-one with Trotz. Kuznetsov has five goals on the season but none at even strength in 11 games.
About 15 minutes before the morning skate begins, Kuznetsov is on the ice working with Trotz. Ovechkin, meantime, is at the end getting extra work vs. Grubauer. pic.twitter.com/OCAkeMjY6P— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikNBCS) November 20, 2017
- Defenseman Christian Djoos hasn’t been on the ice since suffering an upper body injury in Nashville. Trotz did, however, say that the rookie is feeling better and starting to ramp up his level of activity. The coach also said he’s hopeful to see Djoos on the ice this week.
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