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AAA Keys to the Game: Caps vs. Lightning


AAA Keys to the Game: Caps vs. Lightning

The Capitals (19-6-2, 40 points) will look to reward their fathers with a victory at Amalie Arena when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (14-12-3, 31 points) at 7 p.m. Live coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN. Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:

Holtby vs. Bishop: After a night off in Sunrise, Caps goalie Braden Holtby (17-4-1, 1.95 GAA, .928 SP) will return to the nets. Among active goaltenders, Holtby has more wins in his first 200 games (118) than any goalie in the NHL. He is 6-2-1 in 10 career appearances against the Lightning. 

Ben Bishop (12-8-2, 1.95 GAA, .931 SP) gets the call for the Lightning. In seven career games against the Caps he’s 1-4-1 with a 3.96 GAA and .884 GSP.

Dominance: The Caps are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games against the Lightning, including a 4-2 home win on Black Friday in which Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera and T.J. Oshie struck for power-play goals. The Caps are also 13-6-1 in their last 20 visits to Tampa.

Win one for pops: The Caps began their fathers’ trip with a 3-2 shootout win at home over the Red Wings on Tuesday, but were outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Since their first dads and mentors trip back in 2008, the Caps are 9-5-0 in front of their fathers.

Ovi vs. Stammer: Snipers Alex Ovechkin (14 goals, 11 assists, 25 points) and Steven Stamkos (11-10-21) have faced each other 32 times. The Capitals are 23-7-2 in those games, with Ovechkin scoring a goal in 16 of those 32 games and registering 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists). Stamkos has recorded 25 points in those games (13 goals, 12 assists). The Capitals have won each of the 16 games in which Ovechkin has scored a goal with Stamkos in the lineup. Ovechkin has nine points in his last 10 games and his 14 goals are six off the pace being sret by Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn.

Special teams: The Caps rank third in the NHL on the power play (23.9 percent) and sixth in penalty killing (84 percent). The Lightning rank 23rd on the man-advantage (17 percent) and 24th on the kill (77.5 percent).

Trending: The Caps are 7-0-0 following losses this season. The Caps are 12-0-0 when leading after two periods; the Bolts are 10-0-0. But when trailing after two periods the Caps are 3-3-1 while the Lightning are 0-8-0.

Saturday Night Fever: The Caps are 6-0-1 on Saturdays this season, outscoring opponents 26-12. In his career, Holtby has a 33-11-6 record with eight shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage on Saturdays. Holtby has more wins and shutouts and his lowest goals-against average on Saturday than any day of the week. Alex Ovechkin has 208 points (109 goals, 99 assists) in 188 career games on Saturday.

Roster news: Look for forwards Stan Galiev and Andre Burakovsky to return to the lineup after being healthy scratches on Thursday. That means defenseman Aaron Ness is the only player who won’t get into the lineup during the dads’ trip. Ness’ father is not believed to be on the trip.  The Lightning will be without forward Ryan Johnson, who is sidelined by an undisclosed injury.

Here are the projected starting lineups for tonight:


Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Stanislav Galiev

Andre Burakovsky - Brooks Laich - Tom Wilson

Defense pairs

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney


Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratches: Aaron NessChris BrownMichael Latta


Forward lines

Jonathan Drouin - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn

Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Nikita Kucherov

J.T. Brown - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan

Vladislav Namestnikov - Jonathan Marchessault

Defense pairs

Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman

Matthew Carle - Jason Garrison

Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov


Ben Bishop (starter) - Kristers Gudlevskis

Injured: Erik Condra (lower body), Cedric Paquette (upper body), Tyler Johnson (undisclosed)

Scratched: Mike Blunden

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Tarik's 3 Stars: Wilson and Backstrom shine in Caps 3rd straight win

Tarik's 3 Stars: Wilson and Backstrom shine in Caps 3rd straight win

Tom Wilson scored twice, Nicklas Backstrom recorded four helpers and the assistant coaches chipped in with a big assist in Montreal, where the Caps earned a 6-4 victory over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

The win was Washington’s third in a row and seventh in eight games as they close in on another Metro Division title. Caps Coach Barry Trotz, meantime, claimed victory No. 200 in Washington; his next win will equal Bruce Boudreau for second all-time in franchise history.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Tom Wilson, Capitals

Wilson’s all-around game continues to blossom…and the Caps’ big winger continues to fill up the scoresheet. At Bell Centre, he scored back-to-back goals less than four minutes apart in the first period to put the Caps in command. Wilson also missed an empty net in the closing seconds by just a few inches. The soon-to-be 24-year-old now has 13 goals—six more than his previous career high.  

2-Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals

Backstrom notched four assists and, as usual, he did it quietly. And they weren’t cheapies—three of the four helpers were of the primary variety. Backstrom, who has four goals and 12 assists in his last 12 games, has now notched four or more points 20 times in his career. It was also his 11th-career four assist game.

3-Leonhardt and Ohashi, Capitals

That’s right, I’m giving the third star to assistant coaches Brett ‘Stretch’ Leonhardt and Tim Ohashi. They quickly spotted that the Habs were offside on their second goal. And, after a coach’s challenge, the refs agreed. Instead of 2-0, it remained 1-0 and the Caps took full advantage of their second chance, scoring the game’s next four goals.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

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


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


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.