Thursday night in DC was less “Caps vs. Devils” more “the Ovechkin Show.” After a stick to the face (which left him bloodied) wasn’t called a penalty, Ovechkin went on an absolute rampage, notching his 25th career hat trick. In Backstrom’s first game back after signing a 5 year contract extension, he assisted on two of Ovechkin’s goals.
Barry Trotz’s Islanders also played Thursday night, with less success, losing to the Rangers 3-2. The Islanders have struggled over the last month, losing 9 out of 15 games. Despite scoring first, and leading after the first period, they were beat out by a (literal) last minute powerplay goal from Kreider.
What to watch for:
High Powered Offense vs. Shutdown Defense
The Capitals are averaging 3.5 Goals For/Game, good enough for 5th best in the league. Meanwhile, the Islanders have averaged only 2.63 Goals Against/Game, which is 6th best in the league. The Caps have struggled at times to keep pucks out of the net. Meanwhile the Islanders have struggled to put the puck in the net. The Islanders have mastered the art of turtling.
Holtby to Start Again
On Friday, Reirden announced that Holtby would be the starting goaltender against the Islanders.
Holtby’s struggles this season have been well documented, however, in the past, getting benched has been the impetus for him to get his crap together and start playing like a Vezina caliber goalie again, so we will see if it worked today.
This Day in Capitals History:
On January 18th, 1998, the NHL All-Star game took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was the first of two All-Star Games for Capitals legend Olaf Kolzig. He joined Dominic Hasek and Nikolai Khabibulin to make up the goaltending trio on the international team. Those three faced off against Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, and Ed Belfour. And quite frankly, if those guys aren’t 6 of your Top Ten Goalies of the 90’s you don’t know what you’re talking about.
Today is the 28th birthday of Washington Capitals/Hershey Bears goaltender Pheonix Copley!