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.
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.
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.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS: