The Washington Capitals continue their road trip in hopes to extend their winning streak against the San Jose Sharks. Here is how to follow along and what to look for.
Saturday nights game against the Detroit Red Wings marked the first of four games of a road trip for the Capitals, they propelled themselves to extend their winning streak to 3 in a row with a 5-2 regulation win.
The game started out similar to their recent games with much of their on ice time spent a man down, they were called for back to back two minute minors starting at about the 8 minute mark.
The Caps managed to kill off the first infraction but wasn’t as lucky the second time around. The play which caused the second penalty more resembled a case of embellishment, on the Red Wing player. This tells me the Capitals issues with committing penalties is becoming a profile the referee’s are noticing making it easier to call penalties when it’s borderline play.
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In spite of these early struggles, the Capitals managed to keep out of the box for rest of the game minus one more time in the second period. The team took control gaining the lead in the second period and would not relinquish it. With the help of two empty net goals Ovechkin would go on to record his 24th hat trick of his illustrious career.
One last observation from the game, Samsonov has proven he can handle a heavy dose of pressure from the opposition with how he handled himself. The one concern I have with him moving forward is his inability to control his body better, there were a number of times he moved from one side to the other or from the net face to the edge of the circle and would lose control by overextending himself. While he managed to stop 25 of 27 shots for a 0.925 SV%, he will need to maintain better body control to be depended on a more regular basis.
As for the Capitals next opponent, the Sharks have turned around what was a rough start to become one of the hottest teams in the league. They began the season mired in a 4-11 start, with everyone questioning their status as contenders.
The team appears to have turned that corner as they have gone 11-2 since then. The key piece to explain how the Sharks have turned it around so abruptly is the play of Martin Jones, who has won his last four games with an average SV% of 0.941. The Sharks are currently on a two game win streak and will look to extend this against a team who they have handled pretty well in their own house. The Capitals are 5-13-1 in 19 games at the SAP Center aka “The Shark Tank”.
With the hostile environment the Capitals will be entering Tuesday night, look for the Capitals to lean on the hot play of Holtby in goal.
The team will need to be aware of the borderline plays which have been resulting in penalty calls, and stay out of the penalty box as much as possible to maintain the upper hand in the contest.
The Capitals will need to also bring a level of speed and intensity to help draw their own penalties to acquire more power play time. This will give them the best chance to stop another streaking team, with their own hot goaltender. Nicklas Backstrom has been upgraded to day-to-day, hopefully that means we will see him in the lineup for the contest.
Here is how to follow along with the action:
Date: Dec. 3rd
Time: 10:30 PM EST
Where: SAP Center
TV Broadcast: NBC Sports Washington
Radio: WJFK 106.7 The Fan, Caps Radio 24/7
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