The Capitals (19-6-2, 40 points) will look to reward their fathers with a victory at Amalie Arena when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (14-12-3, 31 points) at 7 p.m. Live coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on CSN. Here are our AAA Keys to the Game:
Holtby vs. Bishop: After a night off in Sunrise, Caps goalie Braden Holtby (17-4-1, 1.95 GAA, .928 SP) will return to the nets. Among active goaltenders, Holtby has more wins in his first 200 games (118) than any goalie in the NHL. He is 6-2-1 in 10 career appearances against the Lightning.
Ben Bishop (12-8-2, 1.95 GAA, .931 SP) gets the call for the Lightning. In seven career games against the Caps he’s 1-4-1 with a 3.96 GAA and .884 GSP.
Dominance: The Caps are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games against the Lightning, including a 4-2 home win on Black Friday in which Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera and T.J. Oshie struck for power-play goals. The Caps are also 13-6-1 in their last 20 visits to Tampa.
Win one for pops: The Caps began their fathers’ trip with a 3-2 shootout win at home over the Red Wings on Tuesday, but were outplayed in a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Since their first dads and mentors trip back in 2008, the Caps are 9-5-0 in front of their fathers.
Ovi vs. Stammer: Snipers Alex Ovechkin (14 goals, 11 assists, 25 points) and Steven Stamkos (11-10-21) have faced each other 32 times. The Capitals are 23-7-2 in those games, with Ovechkin scoring a goal in 16 of those 32 games and registering 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists). Stamkos has recorded 25 points in those games (13 goals, 12 assists). The Capitals have won each of the 16 games in which Ovechkin has scored a goal with Stamkos in the lineup. Ovechkin has nine points in his last 10 games and his 14 goals are six off the pace being sret by Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn.
Special teams: The Caps rank third in the NHL on the power play (23.9 percent) and sixth in penalty killing (84 percent). The Lightning rank 23rd on the man-advantage (17 percent) and 24th on the kill (77.5 percent).
Trending: The Caps are 7-0-0 following losses this season. The Caps are 12-0-0 when leading after two periods; the Bolts are 10-0-0. But when trailing after two periods the Caps are 3-3-1 while the Lightning are 0-8-0.
Saturday Night Fever: The Caps are 6-0-1 on Saturdays this season, outscoring opponents 26-12. In his career, Holtby has a 33-11-6 record with eight shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage on Saturdays. Holtby has more wins and shutouts and his lowest goals-against average on Saturday than any day of the week. Alex Ovechkin has 208 points (109 goals, 99 assists) in 188 career games on Saturday.
Roster news: Look for forwards Stan Galiev and Andre Burakovsky to return to the lineup after being healthy scratches on Thursday. That means defenseman Aaron Ness is the only player who won’t get into the lineup during the dads’ trip. Ness’ father is not believed to be on the trip. The Lightning will be without forward Ryan Johnson, who is sidelined by an undisclosed injury.
Here are the projected starting lineups for tonight:
Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)
Scratched: Mike Blunden