With only a few days until the All-Star break, the Washington Capitals (27-15-5) visit the Chicago Blackhawks (16-24-9) Sunday for a 12:30 p.m puck drop at United Center. This is the second and final meeting between the two teams this season. The first meeting between the teams on Nov. 21 ended with Washington winning 4-2 at home. The game will be broadcast on NBC.
The Capitals are coming off a 2-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday night. This is the team’s fourth straight loss, where they have been outscored by their opponents 4 goals to 15 goals.
Chicago is on a five-game losing streak, the most recent a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
What to watch for in the Washington Capitals:
The Capitals are throwing all the marbles in to get a win and snap their four-game losing streak before the All-Star break. In a tweet today from Washington Post Reporter Isabelle Khurshudyan, she indicated that the lines were shifted a decent amount at practice today.
Caps in practice today:
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) January 19, 2019
There was a shift in centermen, with Nicklas Backstrom being moved up to the first-line, Lars Eller moved from third-line to second, and Evgeny Kuznestov moving from the first-line to the third-line. T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson switched places on right-wing, Wilson moving down a line and Oshie moving up. The first two defensive lines were switched as well. Michal Kempny was moved down to the second-line and Dmitry Orlov moved up to the first-line.
With Kuznestov being paired with Andre Burakovsky, we could see the two of them feed off of each other’s energy in the means of needing to perform better. The two of them are also a good pair in terms of stick skills and speed, which could produce offensive opportunities leading to scoring chances.
Three games stand between the Capitals and the All-Star break, with two of the games against opponents ranked in the top-5 of the standings. We could see Reirden rest Braden Holtby tomorrow for back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs, so expect Phoenix Copley in net.
What to watch for in the Chicago Blackhawks:
A leader since joining the Chicago franchise, Patrick Kane stands out in the league despite his team being last in the standings. With 27 goals in 48 games so far this season, Kane is on track to pass his career best of 46 goals in the 2015-2016 season. He also has recorded 38 assists thus far, which also has him on pace to break his previous best of 60 assists in the 2015-2016 season. Kane is currently ranked sixth in the league for points with 65, only 11 behind first place Nikita Kucherov. In the past five games, Patrick Kane has scored four goals and seven assists. He did not record a point in the first meeting between the Capitals but looks to change that tomorrow.
With Corey Crawford still out with a concussion, we could see Collin Delia start over Cam Ward in net.
Prediction: Capitals 3 – 0 Blackhawks