For the first time this season, the Capitals (35-13-5) are coming off back-to-back regulation losses at home. They will look to rebound against the Los Angeles Kings (19-29-5) in the second game of a four-game homestand for Washington. Catch all the action on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Caps FaceOff Live and continues with Caps Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. leading up to the 7 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington for postgame coverage with Caps Postgame Live, D.C. Sports Live and Caps Overtime Live.
Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday’s game.
Fehervary is in
The Caps recalled Martin Fehervary from Hershey on Tuesday and he will play on the third pair in place of Jonas Siegenthaler. It is the natural place for Fehervary to start, on his natural side on the third pair. I would not anticipate this being Fehervary's long-term spot in the lineup, however. Of all the problems the defense has had this season, Siegenthaler has not been one of them.
Here are the lines from the morning skate:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Richard Panik
Brendan Leipsic - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen
Martin Fehervary - Radko Gudas
After Ilya Samsonov started the past two games, Braden Holtby returns to the net. He played well in the first game back from the all-star break in a win over the Montreal Canadiens, but was...not as good in a loss to the Nashville Predators. In that game, he passed the puck on a power play right to Predators forward Ryan Johansen who scored the game-tying shorthanded goal. Nashville would go on to win the game 5-4.
Holtby is statistically having his worst NHL season with a .896 save percentage and 3.11 GAA and, judging by the fact that Todd Reirden elected to start Samsonov over him in Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he may be losing his hold on the No. 1 goalie spot. With 29 games left in the season, he can still win it back, but he needs to pick up his play or he could find himself heading into the postseason as the backup to Samsonov in much the same way he did in 2018 to Philipp Grubauer.
Something else to keep an eye on will be who is backing up Holtby. A shot caught Samsonov in the mask at morning skate and he left the ice. Reirden said he will have to go through concussion protocol and Vitek Vanecek will be recalled as a precaution, but it was too early to know if Vanecek would be backing up Holtby. If he is, then that may be a bad sign.
When last we met
Washington beat the Kings in Los Angeles on Dec. 5 thanks in large part to Carlson who scored twice in the first period in a 3-1 win. The win was part of the Caps’ three-game California sweep, the first time in team history Washington has managed to win all three games in the Golden State.
Doughty not in doubt
Defenseman Drew Doughty saw his consecutive game streak end at 460 on Jan. 29 due to an undisclosed injury. He has not returned to action and has now missed three games. The Kings were hopeful he could play on Tuesday and, based on their morning skate, it looks as if he will be back in the lineup.
Looks like Drew Doughty is back, paired with Alec Martinez.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) February 4, 2020
Los Angeles has the fewest points in the Western Conference and is one of the worst teams in the NHL. With the Caps coming off a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and with two divisional games ahead after Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders, this is an obvious trap game. The Kings have won only once in their last seven games. With the Metropolitan Division race getting tighter with the Penguins just four points behind Washington, these are two points the Caps have to have.
The Kings are bad, they're going nowhere and everyone knows it. That makes them one of the few obvious sellers at the trade deadline. Tuesday's game will be a good opportunity to scout potential fits for the Caps, if they can find the money under the salary cap to make any additions that is. Forwards Tyler Toffoli, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford, as well as defensemen Derek Forbort, Ben Hutton and Ryan Joakim, are all on the final year of their contracts making them obvious targets. Defenseman Alec Martinez is also a name that has been floated about in rumors. He is a right-shot defenseman which is certainly an area of need for Washington, but has a $4 million cap hit which would make adding him difficult.
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