The Washington Capitals are back home after sweeping their three game road trip. On Friday morning, the team held a morning skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex before the team takes on the New Jersey Devils tonight at Capital One Arena.
No changes to the lines from the game on Wednesday that saw the Capitals defeat the Flyers, and for good reason. All four lines played spectacular, each line having a goal. Five different players scored: Tom Wilson, Brett Connolly, Alex Ovechkin, Andre Burakovsky, and Nicklas Backstrom.
Braden Holtby will get the start in goal. He’s coming off a big milestone, winning his 250th career game and becoming the second-fastest goaltender to do so. He became the 56th goaltender in NHL history to reach the 250-win milestone and one of just 12 active goaltenders to reach that mark, via Capitals PR.
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Holtby carries a 25-16-4 record with a 2.54 GAA and .909 save percentage. In his lifetime against the Devils, Holtby carries a 16-3-3 with a 2.03 GAA, .924 save percentage and four shutouts.
Hot streak: Andre Burakovsky
Andre Burakovsky continues to heat up and Wednesday night was no different. Wednesday marked the second straight game he scored a goal and he comes into tonight’s game with six points (3 goals, 3 asssits) in his last eight games. This is the type of consistency the Captials and their fans want from Burakovsky and with the trade deadline passing it seems like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
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Burakovsky got off to a slow start early in the season. It took until his ninth game to score his first goal. He also had a goal-less drought stretching 14 games.
Some teams were interested in Burakovsky at the trade deadline but General Manager Brian MacLellan decided not to deal him. If Burakovsky keeps up this tear, GMBM may want to bring him back next season. He enters this summer as a restricted free agent.
Line to Watch: The 2nd
Jakub Vrana: As noted in our article earlier this week, Vrana is the Capitals’ youngest superstar. He made a beautiful pass behind the net to Backstrom the other night in Philly and he’s on the hunt for his 20th goal of the season.
Nicklas Backstrom: Backstrom is second on the Capitals in points with 63 (16 goals, 47 assists). He continues to be the guy who sets it up and his consistency no matter what line he’s been on has helped the Capitals. According to the game notes, Backstrom is three assists shy of becoming the only player in NHL history to record at least 50 assists in the last six straight seasons.
T.J. Oshie: Oshie was held off the scoresheet the last two games but had five points in the three games prior (3 goals, 2 asssits), including two goals in the home win over the Senators last Tuesday. Oshie was a -1 the other night in Philadelphia in 18:13 minutes of action. He looks for a better performance tonight and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him bury a pass from Backstrom in this game.