The Capitals (24-6-2, 50 points) just continue to find ways to win. Will Monday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes (13-15-5, 31 points) be a bit less dramatic than the Caps' last two games? Catch all the action on CSN Plus starting at 6:30 p.m.
Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:
A rising star: Carolina may not look all that intimidating when it comes to the standings, where they sit ahead of only Columbus in the Metropolitan Division, but the team knows they will face a hard-working team on Monday night and one of the league's top defensemen.
"They play really quick,' head coach Barry Trotz said. "They’ll pressure you all over the ice. They come at you hard. They have a very active dee. Justin Faulk is turning into one of the premier defensemen in the league. They’re hard to play against. Every night they bring a full-out effort."
Faulk actually leads the team in points with 27. He's someone the Caps need to account for on the power play as all 12 of his goals this season have come with his team a man up.
An ouchie for Oshie: T.J. Oshie will be a game-time decision with a lower-body injury. The Caps winger left for the locker room midway through the second period of Sunday's game. He did return for the start of the third, but had only 14:49 of ice time for the game, his second lowest for the season. Oshie has been on a tear of late with eight points in his last four games which earned him Second Star NHL honors for the week.
Vacation starts early: Philipp Grubauer will get the start in net on Monday, giving Braden Holtby the night off after playing Sunday in New York. Trotz hinted on Sunday that he may play Holtby in the second leg of the back-to-back after pulling him early on Friday against Tampa Bay. Grubauer has compiled a respectable 3-2-1 record in relief, but Holtby showed he can handle a heavy workload after playing in 73 games last season. Monday's game marks the sixth back-to-back set of the season for the Caps who are 9-1-1 in back-to-back games outscoring their opponents 40-24. After tonight, the Caps will have another seven back-to-backs over the course of the season.
Brothers in arms: When Eric Staal and Jordan Staal united in Carolina, it was thought the Hurricanes would have one of the strongest lineups down the center in the NHL. Things haven't exactly gone that way for the Hurricanes. This season, the Staal brothers have managed only 32 points combined. Eric Staal, 31, has long been the subject of trade rumors as his contract will expire at the end of the season. With the Hurricanes not likely headed for the playoffs, it's not inconceivable that Carolina could attempt to move their long-time captain at some point this season.
Struggles in net: The Hurricanes added goaltending depth in the offseason with the acquisition of Eddie Lack, but the move has not paid off as both he and Cam Ward have struggled this season. Lack has registered only a .876 save percentage while giving up 3.34 goals per game. Ward has not been much better with a .899 save percentage and a 2.58 GAA. Ward will start tonight for Carolina, but given those numbers, it would not be surprising if the Caps end up seeing both netminders over the course of the game.
Fond memories: Justin Williams returns to Carolina where he registered 201 points in five seasons and won a Stanley Cup in 2006. Mr. Game 7 scored an empty-netter in Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers to ice the series. Williams scored two goals and added an assist in Sunday's win over the Rangers. For the season, he has 10 goals and 13 assists.
Road-ice advantage? The Caps are 9-3-0 in their last 12 games on the road against Carolina and have won five of their last six. Washington has found plenty of success against the Hurricanes in recent years as they have gone 18-6-3 overall against the divisional foe since the start of the 2010-11 season and 6-1-1 in their last eight meetings.
Lasting success: In addition to the team success, several Caps players also seem to enjoy a matchup with the 'Canes. Nicklas Backstrom has more tallied more points against Carolina than any other NHL team with 49 in 42 games. Alex Ovechkin also has a whopping 74 points, the third-most he has against any NHL team. It's not just the offense. In 12 games, Braden Holtby has enjoyed an 8-4-0 record with one shutout, a 1.99 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.
Here we go again: The Caps' win on Sunday was the second consecutive game the team has rallied from a multi-goal deficit to win in regulation. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fifth time in franchise history that the Capitals have won consecutive games by overcoming a deficit of at least two goals in each game, but it's only the second time they've done so with two regulation wins. The only other time the Caps managed this feat was in February of 1986
Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)
Scratched: Riley Nash