The Washington Capitals will look to bounce back on their home ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets as they enter tonight’s game in two game losing streak. The Caps have already been banged up and now Nic Dowd is on the COVID protocol list. But there was still good news from yesterday’s practice and even better news at today’s optional skate.
Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and Conor Sheary were all on the ice. While John Carlson, Carl Hagelin, and Garnet Hathaway each took maintenance days on Friday, each were on the ice for Saturday’s optional skate. Ilya Samsonov gets the start in goal. Hagelin, Carlson and Hathaway are on track to play tonight, per Peter Laviolette. Oshie and Sheary are possibilities. Backstrom continues to progress but isn’t ready to suit up just yet.
Tonight is the second time the Caps face the Blue Jackets this season. The Caps won the most recent matchup 4-3 on Nov. 12 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. In that game, Alex Ovechkin scored his 742nd career goal to pass Brett Hull for the fourth most goals in NHL history.
Ovechkin has recorded 30 points in 38 games against Columbus with 19 goals and 11 assists. Since the Capitals and Blue Jackets joined the Metropolitan Division in the 2013-14 season, Ovechkin’s 13 goals are tied for the third most against Columbus during that span.
Ovechkin has points in five of his last eight games with seven goals and four assists. Tom Wilson has points in five of his last six games with three goals and six assists. Carl Hagelin is on a two game point and assist streak.
The Caps will wear their navy blue third jersey for tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets. It’s the third time they’re wearing that sweater this season. They won the last time they were in that uniform on Black Friday behind an Ovechkin hat trick.
This is the Blue Jackets first visit to D.C. in almost two years. Their last meeting inside Capital One Arena was a 2-1 Caps overtime win on Dec. 27, 2019. This is the second of a four game homestand. That home stretch began Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks which resulted in a 4-3 shootout loss despite the Caps holding a 3-2 lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the third.
It was also the third time in the last three games that the Caps lost the lead in the third period. They are 1-1-1, the lone win coming in Carolina against the Hurricanes. The other loss came when the Caps blew a 4-1 third period lead against the Florida Panthers, the same team Ovechkin had a hat trick against a few nights prior.
Date: Saturday Dec. 4, 2021
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena
What Channel Is The Capitals Game On: NBC Sports Washington
Radio: 106.7 The Fan and Caps Radio 24/7
Betting Odds: The betting odds on WynnBET have the Capitals as -1.5 favorites at home against the Blue Jackets. The moneyline is set with the Caps at -210 and the Blue Jackets at +185. The over/under for tonight’s game is 6.0.
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