The Washington Capitals (27-17-6) host the Western Conference leading Calgary Flames (33-13-5) Friday night at Capital One Arena for a 7 p.m puck drop. This is the second and final meetings between the two teams, the Capitals won 4-3 in shootouts in the first meeting back in October. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet and NBC Sports Washington.
The Capitals last game was on Wednesday Jan. 23 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where they lost 6-3. That loss extended the teams losing streak to seven straight losses, the longest losing streak all season.
Calgary played last on Tuesday Jan. 22, where they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 in overtime.
What to watch for in the Washington Capitals:
The Capitals have lost their past seven straight games. Many have called this slump a “delayed Stanley Cup Hangover,” but it is more reflective of their defensive performance. They have allowed 36 total goals in that seven-game span. Head Coach Todd Reirden, Defenseman John Carlson and Goaltender Braden Holtby all had a shortened break due to their attendance at the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose over the past weekend. There was a little bit of hope that we saw with their performances at that game, that we’d hope would carry over to Friday night’s game. The Capitals will be without Captain Alexander Ovechkin Friday due a one-game suspension, handed out by the league, for his absence from the All-Star Game. He chose to defer his invitation to the All-Star Game and have an extended break. He had a choice of what game to miss and he chose the game against Calgary rather than the game against the Maple Leafs.
John Carlson was one of four players to participate in the NHL hardest shot competition at All-Star weekend. Alongside him were San Jose Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns, Tampa Bay Lightning’s forward Steven Stamkos and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones. Carlson brought the heat and recorded a 102.8mph shot that would ultimately win him the competition. The previous year, teammate Alexander Ovechkin won the same exact competition. When they played the tournament on Saturday, Carlson was a part of the Metropolitan team that won the whole thing along with one million dollars split between the 11 players on the team. During the tournament, we were able to watch the skilled John Carlson work alongside divisional foes such as Sidney Crosby and Cam Atkinson. Carlson’s defensive skills were a key part to the teams win. Hopefully, Carlson will maintain his skill he has maintained all season and carry it into the playoff run. Carlson’s ability to create almost as hard of a shot as Ovechkin could come in handy whether it is on 5-on-5 play or a power play for the rest of the season.
Braden Holtby's out here stopping basically everything pic.twitter.com/3uLzCGuPw3
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) January 27, 2019
Braden Holtby had a stellar performance as well during the All-Star game. Along with New York Rangers Goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, they both managed to hold their own and propel the team to the win. Holtby displayed his skill throughout the two games he played in. We can expect him to be in net on Friday night.
What to watch for in the Calgary Flames:
Johnny Gaudreau, left-winger, is a player that the Capitals need to keep an eye on in Friday’s game. He has 29 goals and 44 assists on the season. He has a total of 73 points, tying him with Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers for third place for points in the league. In Calgary’s past five games, Gaudreau has recorded three goals and three assists.
In net David Rittich is expected, as he is 19-4-4, with a .918 save percentage on the season.
Prediction: Capitals 3 – Flames 2