In the midst of a two-game skid, the Washington Capitals are looking to rebound Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team looking for its third straight win.
With the victory, the Capitals could tie the Flyers for the first wild card spot and would avoid slipping down the Eastern Conference standings.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center- 7:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSNMA, SunS
2016-17 Season Series:
Dec. 3 Lightning 2 Capitals 1 (SO)
Washington Capitals – 19-8-4, 42 Points
Home Record: 11-5-0
Hot Players: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams, Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana-Lars Eller-Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik-Taylor Chorney
Tampa Bay Lightning – 17-14-3, 37 Points
Away Record: 8-9-2
Hot Players: Victor Hedman, Jonathan Drouin, Valtteri Filppula
Key Injuries: Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Ryan Callahan, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ben Bishop
Cory Conacher-Tyler Johnson-Erik Condra
Brian Boyle-Valtteri Filppula-Jonathan Drouin
Alex Killorn-Brayden Point-Cedric Paquette
Michael Bournival-Tanner Richard-J.T. Brown
Victor Hedman-Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison-Andrej Sustr
Slater Koekkoek-Braydon Coburn
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]With Tampa Bay’s top players on the shelf, the Capitals won’t have to worry about threats like Stamkos or Kucherov, and should have an opportunity to overpower them with offense while playing a strong defensive game. However, Washington should keep a close eye on Jonathan Drouin as well as the blue line, where Victor Hedman’s become an offensive threat.
Anton Stralman and Victor Hedman pick up the assists on Killorn's goal. Hedman has 8 assists in his last 5 games. #Bolts
— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 23, 2016
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]Andre Burakovsky will stay in the lineup to prove his worth after ending an eight-game point drought with a two-point performance (one goal, one assist) against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Willaims trio is starting to find its rhythm, and has combined for 13 points over the last five games. Williams is riding a four-game point streak, as well as a three-game goal-scoring streak. With this line heating up, expect them to do some damage against the Lightning on Friday.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) December 23, 2016
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]Washington’s hot power-play may have been silent against the Flyers, but prior to Wednesday’s game, they had a PPG in five straight games. Tampa Bay has the eighth-worst penalty kill in the league (79.3 percent success), so the Capitals must take full advantage of the man advantage and continue their hot streak. They also need to be alert on the penalty kill since Tampa Bay has one of the top PP units in the NHL.
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.