Washington Capitals take on Carolina Hurricanes in exhibition

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Washington Capitals return to the ice today.

The Washington Capitals will play a hockey game as they open their quest for the Stanley Cup in an exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes, an opponent that ended their season last year all too early.

It’s been 143 days since the Caps last played a game. It took place in Buffalo that ended in a shootout loss to the Sabres. Little did we know we would embark on over four months without hockey after that game.

The Hurricanes will take on the New York Rangers in the Qualifying Round this Saturday while the Caps will begin a Round Robin on Monday. This game is a tuneup for the Caps, a chance to work on their game against a quality opponent. It will also be a dress rehearsal.

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“I think we need to take this exhibition game very seriously. We know that Carolina is going to play hard, obviously. It is their one game before they play extremely meaningful games, so I think for us we need to be ready, and it is an opportunity for us to find our game,” said Carl Hagelin.

Coach Todd Reirden said that Braden Holtby will start the game in goal. He will play the first two periods before giving the net over to either Vitek Vanecek or Pheonix Copley. Ilya Samsonov didn’t travel with the team and is dealing with an injury.

“I think we are all looking forward to getting a real gamelike situation. Even though it’s an exhibition, we haven’t played a game in almost 140 days right now or something like that, so I think just going through the routine will be nice, getting that game day routine, warmup routine, just get familiar with it. Looking forward to it,” said Garnet Hathaway.

It’s going to be weird having the game in an empty arena without fans. Caps fans are passionate about the game and Canes fans made their arena a house of horrors for the Caps last postseason.

“The biggest difference will be playing without anybody in the stands. It’s still hard to wrap your head around the thought, what that’ll be like. That part will be the biggest difference, I think, where you feel like this is … different. If I had to point out one thing, that would probably be it,” said Lars Eller.

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Puck drop is at 4 p.m. from Scotiabank Arena. You can catch the game on the NBC Sports Network nationally and locally on NBC Sports Washington.