Washington Capitals Begin Three-Game Road Trip


Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After a much-needed win against the Boston Bruins on Sunday evening, the Washington Capitals begin a three-game road trip today against the Buffalo Sabres. Before the week is over, they will also visit the Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets. The Washington Capitals sit comfortably in fourth place in the division with 84 points but a mere two points over wild card opponent Boston Bruins.

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The Capitals must continue to play the hockey we saw on Sunday night if they want to remain a strong wild card lead. Brooks Laich and Michael Latta are sidelined with upper body injuries, Justin Peters and Brooks Orpik are sidelined with lower body injuries, and Justin Peters is sidelined with a shoulder injury; all five players are listed as day-to-day. And is it just me, or has Alex Ovechkin looked a shade less than healthy since he was sidelined with his own injury? As of Sunday afternoon, goalie Philipp Grubauer and forward Chris Conner were recalled from the Hershey Bears to relieve some of the injured players. Grubauer last played for the Washington Capitals on February 6 to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.

Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

The Washington Capitals must continue to look forward and maintain their drive from Sunday’s win. Though the Sabres currently have the worst record in the league, the Capitals cannot afford to get sloppy. This will be the thirteenth pair of back-to-back games for the Washington Capitals this season, and their record for these stands at an uneasy 4-8-1 on the second nights. The two teams have met twice this season and each has come away victorious once; this will be the final match between the two this season. The Sabres are currently on a six-game losing streak, the most recent of which was won by the New York Rangers in a 2-0 shutout. The game will be played in Buffalo on Monday, March 16 at 7:00PM EST.

Washington Capitals vs. Minnesota Wild

Since goalie Devan Dubnyk debuted for the Wild on January 15, the team is 20-5-2 and boasts the best NHL record since the All Star break. He sits second in the league for both goals against average (2.08) and save percentage (.929) and is undoubtedly responsible for a great deal of the team’s recent success. Teammates Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, and Thomas Vanek have been equally as active on the offense to make up for Jason Zucker’s absence and have scored six of the team’s last fifteen goals. Like the Washington Capitals, the Wild sits fourth in its division with 83 points and has the first slot in the wild card race – they need to play beastly hockey as a few minor slipups could end up costing them a playoffs spot. The two teams saw each other just two weeks ago in D.C. when the Wild capitalized on their injury-ridden opponents to defeat the Capitals 2-1. Thursday will be the last meeting of the two this season. The game will be played in St. Paul on Thursday, March 19 at 8:00PM EST.

Washington Capitals vs. Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets sit behind the Wild with 80 points, fifth in the division and second in the wild card race; also like the Wild, the Jets will not go down easily and must claw its way through every game to keep its wild card spot. Winnipeg has won four of its last eight games and Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals will mark the last of a three-game home stretch for the Jets. Six players sit on the Jets injured list: Dustin Byfuglien (upper body), Ben Chiarot (broken left hand), Grant Clitsome (back surgery), Bryan Little (lower body), Tyler Myers (upper body), and Mathieu Perreault (left leg). Little and Myers are questionable for Tuesday’s game against San Jose and are likely the only two the Washington Capitals would potentially see from this list. With a hefty number of top players out, the Jets have been relying on surprisingly scrappy backups such as Paul Postma, Adam Lowry, and Jim Slater. The subpar goalies aren’t doing their team any favors but the team has been refusing to allow other teams to beat them handily and have only trailed their victors by one or two goals in each loss. Hopefully the Washington Capitals can maintain their vigor for the last game of the road trip and return to D.C. healthier than when they left. The game will be played in Winnipeg on Saturday, March 21 at 7:00PM EST.

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