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6 things to know for Caps-Canadiens: Man down for the Caps

6 things to know for Caps-Canadiens: Man down for the Caps

After a quick trip to Philadelphia, the Capitals (14-2-4) return home to host the Montreal Canadiens (10-5-3) for a Friday night matchup. You can catch all the action on NBC Sports Washington with Caps FaceOff Live kicking things off at 6 p.m. before Caps Pregame Live begins at 6:30 p.m. to bring you up to the 7 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.

Here are six things to know for Friday’s game.

Man down

Carl Hagelin took the ice in a non-contact jersey for Friday’s morning skate and will not play in the game. Nic Dowd did not participate and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He had a large gash in his hand late in the game against Philadelphia. That leaves the Caps with only 17 healthy skaters on the roster. A full lineup has 18 skaters.

Todd Reirden said the coaches would meet after the skate to determine who to call from Hershey. The fact that there is a discussion suggests that at the very least they are considering recalling someone other than Travis Boyd.

Here are the lines from Friday’s skate:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - ??? (Hagelin skated here) - Garnet Hathaway

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Radko Gudas
Jonas Siegenthaler - Nick Jensen

Samsonov starts, Holtby gets Saturday

With the Caps playing Friday and Saturday, the netminders will split the two games. Ilya Samsonov will play Friday against Montreal while Braden Holtby will get the start Saturday in Boston.

Samsonov was handed his first loss as a starter on Monday against the Arizona Coyotes and his second loss of the season. Friday will be his eighth appearance this season.

It will be a tough matchup as Samsonov will be going head-to-head against one of the top netminders in the world in Carey Price. Interestingly enough, both players have similar numbers this season as Samsonov enters this game with a .915 save percentage and 2.45 GAA as compared to Price’s .916 and 2.65, though Price is doubling up Samsonov in terms of games.

This could be a big night for the power play

The Caps are converting 22.9-percent on the power play, but it did not look good Wednesday in Philadelphia. Friday could provide the power play with a “get right” opportunity as Montreal ranks 28th on the PK at 73.7-percent. It has been better recently at 77.8-percent in their last five games, but the Caps still must be licking their lips over this opportunity...or at least they will if they can get Montreal into the box.

The Canadiens do not take many penalties and are tied for the fourth-fewest minors taken this season at 52.

Ovechkin is due

Ovechkin has 13 goals already this season, but his pace has slowed a bit this month. In six games in November, Ovechkin has only two goals and they both came in the same game against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 7.

The good news is that Ovechkin loves playing against Montreal. In 48 games against Montreal, he has 31 goals and 53 points.

No Kotkaniemi

One of Montreal’s bright young stars will be out of the lineup. Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been out injured for all of November and he will remain out for Friday’s game.

Kotkaniemi is a budding Caps’ killer with two goals and two assists in just three career games against Washington.

One month and counting

The Caps have not lost in regulation since Oct. 14. It is now Nov. 15 and Washington has gone a full month without suffering a single regulation loss. The Caps have points in 13 straight games and have won 11 of their last 13.

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Capitals vs. Blue Jackets: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals vs. Blue Jackets: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

With three straight wins in their California trip, the Capitals are coming back to some much-needed home cooking. Washington will look to win their seventh game in a row.

The Blue Jackets are on a three-game losing skid and will look to get themselves out of the Metro Division basement with a much-needed win.

Can the Caps keep their winning streak going? Tune in to find out.

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

When: Monday, December 9, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Blue Jackets game will be broadcast on NBC Sports. (NBC Sports channel finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blues preseason on NBC Sports live stream page.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7

CAPITALS-BLUES TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Blue Jackets (LIVE)

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS-BLUE JACKETS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals: C Nicklas Backstrom, upper-body injury, day-to-day

Blue Jackets: RW Brandon Dubinsky, wrist, long-term injured reserve

D Markus Nutivaara, upper-body injury, injured reserve

D Zach Werenski, upper-body injury, injured reserve

CAPITALS AT BLUE JACKETS PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Jonas Siegenthaler, D, Capitals (1-4-5)

While all the attention paid to the Caps defense is on John Carlson, Siegenthaler is quietly putting together a stout campaign. As part of the penalty-killing unit and on the third pairing with Radko Gudas, Siegenthaler could have a busy night ahead of him.

Seth Jones, D, Blue Jackets (4-12-16)

The son of former-NBA player Popeye Jones, Seth is making noise around the NHL for his steady play on the defensive end with his playmaking abilities on offense. He'll be quarterbacking the Columbus powerplay.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, Blue Jackets (10-8-18)

Chosen third overall in the 2016 entry draft, Dubois currently leads Columbus in points this season. He's been shut down for the last five games, recording only one assist, so he'll be looking to get his scoring touch back.

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A Vrana steal, a Kuznetsov surprise and more shenanigans between the Caps and Ducks

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USA TODAY Sports

A Vrana steal, a Kuznetsov surprise and more shenanigans between the Caps and Ducks

For the first time in franchise history, the Capitals have swept all three California teams on the road. The final win came on Friday in a 3-2 narrow defeat of the Anaheim Ducks. The game was full of shenanigans, some of which were cheeky and fun, but others were cruel and tragic.

Check out the game recap here.

Observations from the win

Just let them fight

We all remember what happened the last time these two teams played between Garnet Hathaway and Erik Gudbranson. It was no surprise to see those two lock horns in the second period, but the moment Gudbranson dropped his gloves, the refs were pulling the two apart preventing the fight.

The game devolved from there. In total, there was 66 PIM distributed in this game and I can't help but think most of it could have been avoided had the refs just let Hathaway and Gudbranson fight it out initially.

Why were they so quick to step in? I'm guessing that was the line in the sand drawn by the refs in an attempt by to keep control of the game and both players were told this is what would happen if they tried to fight. Rather than calm the game down, however, that seemed to make things worse.

Hathway and Gudbrandson ended up fighting in the third period anyway so what was the point of stopping them?

That sure sounds like they just needed to get that initial fight out of the way. That would have been better for both teams. Gudbranson's took an extra two minutes on the original fight attempt and the Caps scored on the resulting power play. Washington, meanwhile, sure seemed to get distracted by all the fisticuffs and scrums as the game went along, quickly losing control of a game it led 2-0.

Offside reviews stink and the NHL should get rid of them

Anaheim had a goal disallowed after a coach's challenge showed that Cam Fowler lifted up his back toe just before the puck crossed over the blue line. Once again, the game was slowed down so the refs could review a play and break down the video pixel by pixel to see if a player was just a hair offside. It saved the Caps a goal, but it was another example of the ridiculous standard linesmen now must stick to when judging if a play was offside or not.

The Ducks did not gain an advantage by the fact that Fowler's toe barely came off the ice right before the puck crossed. That's not the spirit in which the rule was intended.

Just please get rid of the offside review.

Context

The Caps swept a four-game road trip for just the second time in franchise history and they did it without Nicklas Backstrom and with Alex Ovechkin scoring in only one of those four games. They could actually be even better than what we saw  Friday.

Turning point

Anaheim tied the game at 2 just 45 seconds into the third period. They had complete control of the game. They were getting prolonged offensive opportunities in the Caps' zone and Washington's offensive structure was non-existent. They were skating the puck in, shooting and that was about the extent of the Caps' offense at that point.

Everything changed with one bad turnover.

Play of the game

Ovechkin is the team's most dangerous weapon on the power play. Getting the puck to him is priority one. Having said that, the Caps have a lot of weapons on the power play and they don't always utilize them. 

Washington's power play system is run on the half-wall. From there the puck is distributed, but rarely do they ever shoot from that position. They should because it would force defenses to account for it, but they don't and so you can understand why this shot from Evgeny Kuznetsov from the half-wall seemed to catch goalie Ryan Miller by complete surprise.

Stat of the game

The win completes a four-game sweep of the road trip. Does it seem like the Caps are really good on the road this season? That's because they are.

Quote of the game


Fan predictions

This is impressive. You nailed it and you got pretty specific too. There were only three misconducts, but still I'm very impressed.

A bit off on the score, but you got to see a Caps win.

Ha.

There was plenty of this. A total of 66 PIM were issued in this game.

Well, it was nuts but it didn't get that nuts.

Just about everything that could happen to Radko Gudas did in this game...but he still didn't score.

I did, but barely. I am going to guess we lost a few people along the way.