Capitals

How Laviolette has fared in his first matchup against a former team

Capitals

On Wednesday, the Capitals will host the Nashville Predators in Peter Laviolette's first game against his former team.

While it may be Year 2 of Laviolette's tenure in Washington, the 2021 season was played entirely within the division meaning the Caps and Predators never played since Laviolette became head coach of the Capitals. Because of the time that has passed, some of the luster of that matchup has worn off for Laviolette.

When asked if he had any feelings heading into Wednesday's game against his former team, Laviolette said, "Not much personally for me. Obviously, I know the guys and had a lot of time spent there. There are things we were able to do that were positive and successful with a lot of that group. It's been two years so it kind of slipped by with regard to that."

The Capitals are the fifth team Laviolette has coached in his career meaning this will be the fourth time he has had to prepare for his first game against a former team.

Here's a look at how Laviolette has fared in these past matchups:

Jan. 23, 2004 Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders: 3-2 loss

Laviolette's first opportunity as head coach came with the New York Islanders who he coached for two seasons from 2001 to 2003. Laviolette took over the Carolina Hurricanes midseason in 2003 and faced the Islanders on Jan. 23, 2004.

The game did not start off well for Laviolette as Bruno St. Jacques took a holding penalty at 2:01 into the first and New York scored on the resulting power play less than four minutes into the game. Sean Hill tied it at 1, but two goals in the second period for the Islanders would ultimately seal the win. Justin Williams scored early in the third, but Rick DiPietro would close the door after that, finishing with 25 saves on 27 shots.

 

In typical Laviolette fashion, the Hurricanes controlled most of the play and the Islanders only managed 21 shots on goal, but three of those shots beat goalie Kevin Weekes for the win.

Dec. 26, 2009 Philadelphia Flyers at Carolina Hurricanes: 4-3 shootout win

Laviolette went behind the bench for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009. His first matchup against Carolina was a wide-open game that saw both teams combine for 76 shots on goal. Unlike in the Islanders-Hurricanes game, Laviolette's squad took control early with two goals in the first period behind Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Daniel Briere made it 3-0 with just 11 minutes left to go in regulation before the Hurricanes mounted a furious comeback.

Just 24 seconds after Briere's goal, Jussi Jokinen got Carolina on the board. He would also score the game-tying goal with 3:13 remaining in regulation after Brent Sutter pulled the Hurricanes to within one.

Luckily for Laviolette, the Flyers avoided disaster as goalie Michael Leighton stopped both shoot-out attempts to go with his 37 saves on the night to save the game and the win for Philadelphia.

Dec. 27, 2014 Nashville Predators vs. Philadelphia Flyers: 4-1 win

In a penalty-filled affair, both teams had their chances on the power play. Philadelphia had five power-play opportunities including a 5-on-3 to start the second period and a late power play in the third. The Flyers, however, could not convert a single power-play goal and that proved to be the difference. Nashville had three power-play goals on the night on five chances.

The turning point of the game came in the second. With the score tied at 1, the Predators had a 5-on-3 opportunity and scored on both penalties with goals from Mike Fisher and Colin Wilson just 26 seconds apart. They would add an empty-net goal with over three minutes left in regulation for the knockout punch.