On Saturday, the Washington Capitals (27-12-4) host divisional foe, the Columbus Blue Jackets (25-15-3), for a 7:00 PM ET puck drop at Capital One Arena. This will be their third of four meetings this season, Columbus winning the first meeting and Washington winning the second. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+, NBC Sports Washington and Fox Sports-Ohio.
The Capitals are coming off a 4-2 win Thursday night against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston. Scoring two goals for the Capitals was Captain Alex Ovechkin, along with Jakub Vrana and Nicklas Backstrom each tallying a single goal.
Thursday night, Columbus halted a late comeback by the Nashville Predators with a 4-3 overtime win.
What to watch for in the Washington Capitals:
The Capitals extended their winning-streak over the Bruins to 14-straight games in Thursday night’s road victory. Captain Alexander Ovechkin was a crucial piece to that victory, scoring two goals and recording four hits. One of the four hits was a highlight reel play, where Ovechkin sent 6-foot-9-inch veteran, Zdeno Chara of the Bruins, into the Capitals Bench.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 11, 2019
Ovechkin is going to be a huge part of the Capitals production not only due to scoring but also his physicality and leadership skills.
T.J. Oshie has also been an asset to Washington’s offensive play. Thursday night, he recorded two primary assists for Vrana’s and Backstrom’s goals. The previous game on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, Oshie recorded two goals, his second two-goal game of the season. He has been relatively quiet since returning from his concussion on Dec. 11. During Thursday’s game, he took a nasty hit from Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller.
Kevan Miller hits TJ Oshie head first into the boards pic.twitter.com/IyRlDCxVsB
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) January 11, 2019
After the hit he stuck out on the ice for another shift before being taken back into the locker room for concussion protocol. He was cleared to return and was back on the bench a short time later. Oshie has been a reliable forward for the team and will continue to be relied on for his scoring and playmaking abilities as the season progresses.
Holtby is expected to have a break Saturday night following a 39 save night on Thursday. Relieving Holtby will be Phoenix Copley, who has had a stellar season and carries a 10-2-2 record for the season.
What to watch for in the Columbus Blue Jackets:
Artemi Panarin scored two goals in Columbus’s Thursday night road win in Nashville. Panarin’s second goal of the night came in overtime to propel them to a win. Both the overtime winner and third period goals came on a power play. In the past five games, he has recorded three goals and three assists. While he is becoming a free agent at the end of the season, Panarin is going to be a key part of getting the Blue Jackets a playoff spot in arguably the toughest division.
In net on Saturday, we could see head coach John Tortorella place Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes. Bobrovsky was suspended one game, being against the Nashville Predators, by the organization due to his actions following Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Prediction: Capitals 5 -Blue Jackets 2