The new-look Capitals (38-18-6) will take the ice on Tuesday to host the Winnipeg Jets (32-27-5) in the first game after the NHL trade deadline. Catch the game broadcast and all pre and postgame coverage on NBC Sports Washington.
Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Caps FaceOff Live followed by Caps Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. bringing you up to the 7 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game broadcast for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here is what you need to know for Tuesday’s game.
Ilya Kovalchuk will make his Capitals debut playing on the right side of the third line. He skated with the team for the first time at Tuesday’s morning skate and Todd Reirden will waste no time getting him into the lineup.
Here are the lines:
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Brenden Dillon - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Michal Kempny - Radko Gudas
Also of note, Kovalchuk practiced on the second power play unit in the slot so expect to see him there for the game.
Let's get familiar
The Caps and Jets have not yet played each other this season, but they will settle all their affairs this week with a home-and-home to open and close the season series. These two teams will meet again in Winnipeg on Thursday. Sometimes knowing you are going to play the same team again the very next game can lead to a more contentious matchup than you would normally expect for two teams in different conferences.
These two teams split the season series last year with each team winning at home.
Braden Holtby will get the start following up his win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. With this being a home-and-home against the Jets, Ilya Samsonov will most likely get the start on Thursday in Winnipeg.
Back on track?
Sunday's win over the Pittsburgh Penguins was huge for Washington. It was a win over a rival, it vaulted the Caps back into first place of the Metropolitan Division and it snapped a four-game losing streak. It was the best game the team has played in a few weeks. The question now is if Sunday's game was a turnaround or if the Caps simply got up for a big game against a big rival?
If Washington comes in and limits the turnovers, the defense plays better, the offense is dangerous and getting traffic in front of the net and the breakouts are clean, then fans can breathe a sigh of relief that perhaps the bad times are finally over and the team is back on track. If the Caps come out and play like they have been lately with terrible turnovers and defensive gaffes and it becomes clear they have not yet turned things around, then they are in serious trouble. Time is running out for the team to get right this season and now there's not trade deadline for the team to lean on to perhaps fix whatever ails them.
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