The Washington Capitals (5-5-1) look to build on their impressive 5-2 comeback win over the Edmonton Oilers (3-6-1) in a match-up tonight against the Calgary Flames (5-6-0) in Alberta.
By Glynn Cosker
Managing Editor, DCpuckDrop
Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Time: 9.00 PM EDT
Venue: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
TV: SN360, NBCSWA, NHL.TV
The Washington Capitals looked really bad on Thursday night as they collapsed to the Vancouver Canucks 6-2 in Rogers Arena. Fast-forward to Rogers Place, and it was a different story last night in Edmonton as the Caps scored five unanswered goals in a superb comeback win over the Oilers. Washington faces a quick turnaround tonight for a tricky contest in Calgary.
Alex Ovechkin Gives Clothes To Homeless Man And 3 Assists To Teammates
Anybody who actually knows Alex Ovechkin would realize immediately that his act of kindness on Friday night in Edmonton is par for his course. After seeing a shirtless homeless man – and knowing that it soon won’t be long until the temperatures dip below freezing in one of North America’s northernmost cities – the big Russian bought a sweater, a winter coat and a hat for the fellow less fortunate than himself. Someone on social media spotted the clothing hand-off and the story soon went viral after Ovechkin’s wife went public with some private text messages she’d exchanged with her husband about the gift. However, it was never Ovechkin’s intent to make any headlines, and the introverted Capitals captain seemed embarrassed when asked about the caring gesture.
“It’s something I think where if you see a guy almost naked out there with that kind of temperature, I think every human can do something, you know? Warm coat or a shirt or whatever,” Ovechkin told reporters; he also stated that the man did not recognize him as being a famous NHL player.
Continuing his generous streak, Ovechkin provided three assists Saturday night in a game that the Capitals started poorly but ended sublimely. When Washington went down 2-0 in the first period, and with Edmonton all over the Caps, the signs were ominous that the away side was heading for defeat. However, the Capitals turned things around in the second and third periods to finally show the kind of team synergy that was missing in recent outings.
Kuznetsov Scores A Work-Of-Art Goal
Ovechkin has seen various linemates since the beginning of the season, and last night Devante Smith-Pelly was promoted to line up alongside Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. It was a move that paid off as Smith-Pelly scored the Capitals first goal with only 18 seconds left in the first period – his first goal of the season. Meanwhile, Lars Eller picked last night to offer up his best performance of the term. He tallied a goal (the Caps’ second to tie the game at 2-2), an assist and six shots during his 13:30 minutes of ice time.
Kuznetsov tipped in a pass from Ovechkin to put the Capitals up 3-2 and soon after scored a highlight-reel goal to put the game out of reach for Edmonton. Kuznetsov crossed the blue line with the puck, glided around an Oiler defenseman before tucking the puck in off a sprawling Cam Talbot’s skate. Jay Beagle slotted home an empty net goal to make the final score 5-2. Also of note: a great rebound performance from Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby who was pulled from Thursday’s game in Vancouver after allowing five goals. Holtby had 38 saves last night in Edmonton. However, backup goalie Philipp Grubauer is expected to guard the net tonight in Calgary.
Next Up: Calgary Flames
Heading into tonight’s game, the Calgary Flames are 1-4-0 on home ice.
“You’d like to win all of them, to be honest, at home. You’d like to get this one and get rolling. We feel we haven’t been assertive enough at home,” stated Flames defenseman Mark Giordano. “We’ve been feeling almost more pressure at home than on the road and that shouldn’t be the case.”
The Capitals have not performed well in back-to-back games but should fancy their chances tonight in the Scotiabank Saddledome if they follow the same game plan they employed last night.
”If we play like we did those last two periods, we’re going to win a lot more games than we lose,” Smith-Pelly said following the win over Edmonton. He’s correct; it was the best team performance since the Capitals 6-1 destruction of the Montreal Canadiens earlier this month.
Stats And Players To Watch
Kuznetsov has three goals in his last two games; Capitals defenseman Madison Bowie has three assists in his last two games; Ovechkin has 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) against the Flames in 14 prior games between the two sides, and he has 15 points so far this season (10 goals, five assists) after 11 games; Flames goaltender Mike Smith has started all but one of his teams 11 games and has a 2.44 GAA, a .927 save percentage and a shutout so far.
Capitals Projected Lineup
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Devante Smith-Pelly
Jakub Vrana — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson — Lars Eller — Tom Wilson
Anthony Peluso — Jay Beagle — Alex Chiasson
Christian Djoos — John Carlson
Brooks Orpik — Madison Bowey
Dmitry Orlov — Taylor Chorney
Philipp Grubauer (likely to start)
Scratched: Nathan Walker, Aaron Ness
Injured: Matt Niskanen (upper body), Tyler Graovac (upper body), Andre Burakovsky (upper body), Brett Connolly (concussion)
Flames Projected Lineup
Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Micheal Ferland
Matthew Tkachuk — Mikael Backlund — Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett — Mark Jankowski — Kris Versteeg
Tanner Glass — Matt Stajan — Troy Brouwer
Mark Giordano — Dougie Hamilton
TJ Brodie — Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak — Michael Stone
Mike Smith (likely to start)
Scratched: Freddie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Matt Bartkowski
Injured: Jaromir Jagr (lower body)