The Washington Capitals are rolling and it looks like they can’t be stopped. They’ve won all but one game since the All-Star break, and hope to keep the streak going against the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday.
With a victory, the Capitals will be the first team to hit 80 points this season and will increase their already comfortable lead over the Metropolitan Division, as well as the NHL. Either way, this team is the closest to Stanley Cup-ready than we’ve seen in recent years.
They will face off against Carolina, who suffered a four-game losing skid before the All-Star break but is now riding an impressive three-game winning streak. Carolina did, though, fall to Washington 6-1 on Jan. 26.
Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center- 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSNMA, FCSR
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 12- Capitals 1 Hurricanes 5
Dec. 16- Capitals 4 Hurricanes 3 (SO)
Jan. 26- Hurricanes 6 Capitals 1
Washington Capitals – 36-11-6, 78 Points
Home Record: 21-5-1
Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Brett Conolly
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Brett Connolly-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Nate Schmidt
Carolina Hurricanes – 24-20-7, 55 Points
Home Record: 7-14-6
Hot Players: Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Aho
Jeff Skinner-Derek Ryan-Lee Stempniak
Sebastian Aho-Jordan Staal-Elias Lindstrom
Brock McGinn-Victor Rask-Teuvo Teravainen
Joakim Nordstrom-Jay McClement-Viktor Stalberg
Jaccob Slavin-Justin Faulk
Ron Hainsey-Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin-Klas Dahlback
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Nicklas Backstrom and Brett Connolly are both riding impressive point streaks. Backstrom has at least a point in four straight games, while Connolly has scored in three consecutive matchups. This just goes to show that the team has decent scoring and playmaking all the way down the lineup. While Connolly is proving his worth to the organization, Backstrom leads the team in points by a large margin, and is no longer going under the radar.
Brett Connolly now has eight goals and 10 points in 33 games for the Caps. Wasn't even tendered a contract here. Would have been cheap, too.
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) January 24, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Hurricanes rookie Sebastian Aho is having a breakout second-half of the season. The 19-year-old winger is becoming a force on the top six and has points in three of his last five games. He had a hat trick and a four-point performance in the team’s dominant victory over the Flyers on Jan. 31, and his hot streak has continued. Washington will have to shut him down if they want to win this hockey game.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Jordan Staal appears to be finding his scoring touch, and has points in four of his last five games. He is riding a three-game point streak, as is Teuvo Teravainen. With the Hurricanes’ offence finding its touch, this team is showing potential when it comes to competing against deep, competitive high-scoring teams like the Capitals.
"We did a lot of really good things, especially in that third period."
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 4, 2017
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Braden Holtby will get the nod against the Hurricanes. He has been outstanding in his career against Carolina, going 10-4-0 and putting up a 1.84 GAA and .944 save mark. Eddie Lack will get the start for the Hurricanes following a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. Lack hasn’t started a game since November and has been out with concussion issues.
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.