Preview: Capitals Prepare for Matinee with Canucks

The Washington Capitals are seeking their fourth straight win, and are looking to keep the ball rolling as they take on Vancouver Sunday.

Washington had an outstanding win Friday against Buffalo when they made the most of their opportunities and shut down the Sabres’ offense. They will have to have the same mentality Sunday, especially to keep up with points in the tight Eastern Conference standings.

Vancouver Canucks at Washington Capitals

Verizon Center – 5 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – CSNMA

2016-17 Season Series:

Oct. 29 – Capitals 5 Canucks 2

Washington Capitals – 16-7-3, 35 Points

Away Record: 10-4-0

Hot Players: Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson

Key Injuries: Matt Niskanen (Upper body; Game time decision)

Projected Lines:


Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams

Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky-Lars Eller-Jakub Vrana

Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson


Karl Alzner-John Carlson

Brooks Orpik-Dmitry Orlov

Nate Schmidt-Taylor Chorney


Braden Holtby


Vancouver Canucks – 12-14-2, 26 Points

Away Record: 4-9-1

Hot Players: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin 

Key Injuries: Derek Dorsett, Anton Rodin, Chris Tanev, Alexander Edler, Philip Larsen, Ryan Miller

Projected Lines:


Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Jannik Hansen

Loui Eriksson-Brandon Sutter-Markus Granlund

Sven Baertschi-Bo Horvat-Alexandre Burrows

Brendan Gaunce-Michael Chaput-Jayson Megna


Ben Hutton-Erik Gudbranson

Luca Sbisa-Troy Stecher

Nikita Tryamkin-Alex Biega


Jacob Markstrom

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]With Matt Niskanen almost back to full health, the Capitals reassigned Aaron Ness to Hershey. Niskanen was hurt in Washington’s overtime victory over Boston on Wednesday, and Barry Trotz will provide an update on his status prior to puck-drop. He’s expected to be a game-time decision, but if still out, the defensive pairings will remain the same.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Washington’s power-play is growing better each game, which brings back memories of their unstoppable PP unit from a season ago. They went 2-for-3 on the man advantage against Buffalo and will have to keep that momentum going against Vancouver Sunday. However, that may be tough, given Vancouver’s 85.3 percent success on the penalty kill is the fifth-best in the NHL.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3) [/miptheme_dropcap]Marcus Johansson is hot right now, and is showing no signs of slowing down. The Swedish forward is riding a four-game point streak and has six points over that period. He’s always involved with the rush, and working with Nicklas Backstrom, is part of one of the hottest duos in the NHL right now. If the Capitals want a win, they’ll have to rely on him to continue the streak.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Though Philipp Grubauer played an excellent game against Buffalo Friday, Braden Holtby is expected to return between the pipes for the Capitals. In his career against the Canucks, Holtby is 2-1, with a 2.36 GAA and .920 save mark.

With the Eastern Conference as tight as it is, this is the perfect time for Washington to show that they’re still one of the top teams in the NHL. Every win counts going forward, and they are close to proving their worth as Cup contenders this season.

In order to win against the Canucks, Washington needs to emphasize an early start and get pucks on net from the get-go. They also need to shut down the power-duo that is the Sedin Twins, and also need to solve their high-ranking penalty kill if they want to score on their power-play chances.