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Caps have a Hill to face in Arizona - Update: Wilson officially out

December 6, 2018, 11:14 AM ET [2 Comments]
Marcus Boutilier
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
* Update: Forward Tom Wilson did not skate today and is listed as day-to-day. Andre Burakovsky will now skate with Ovechkin and Backstrom in place of Wilson to start the game.

After a winning streak of seven games was halted by a devastating loss to the Anaheim Ducks the Capitals then let a lead slip away against Vegas losing 5-3 and will now look to halt the two-game losing skid tonight in the second game of a three-game road trip in Arizona at Gila River Arena. It will be the last meeting of the two teams with the Caps looking to exact some revenge after a 4-1 loss in DC earlier in the season. Entering the game at 15-9-3 good enough for first in the Metro Division, the Capitals face a 13-11-2 Arizona squad that has a winning record on the road with seven wins in thirteen games including an OTL. They may be as hot as the desert they’re living in winning four games in a row scoring almost four goals per game and allowing only five total in that stretch.

With no practice yesterday it’s unknown if Tom Wilson will be in the lineup after leaving the game against Vegas when hit by Ryan Reaves. Logic would suggest he is not in today but will have to wait to see.

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom continue to pace the Capitals scoring with 33 points respectively and Ovechkin’s 20 goals are good enough for second in the NHL behind Winnipeg’s Patrick Laine (21). Ovechkin is on fire right now with points in nine straight games while racking up 8 goals and 15 points. Averaging close to 23 minutes a game over the last three he hasn’t taken a penalty while still providing a physical presence. His next shot will give him an incredible 5,000 shots for his career.

John Carlson continues to lead the Capitals blueline scoring with 29 points placing him third in the league just two points back of Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot and his 24 assists lead all skaters for Washington. He is seventh in NHL ice time per game playing 25:37 as he plays in all situations.

I would expect Pheonix Copley to start in goal today for the Capitals giving Holtby a rest who has looked a little more human since the 3rd period of the fateful 6-5 loss in the Ducks game. Copley (8-5-2) last played in a win over the Rangers on November 24th and would look to continue and raise his SV% currently at a subpar .899%.

Only two teams have scored less than Arizona’s 68 total goals so far as this is an area of concern for the Coyotes who are led in scoring by Clayton Keller with 19 points placing him only 95th in the NHL. Keller also leads the team in goals with 8 which puts him in 87th spot overall so the Caps will have to take advantage of the struggling offense.

The goaltending situation in Arizona could have been a disaster as both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Ratta are injured for the Coyotes and they now turned to 22-year-old 2015 draft pick Adin Hill. He started in four games last season for Arizona but struggled to win only one of four starts with a poor .849 SV% and 3.49 GAA allowing 14 goals. Contrast that with this season the rookie has come out of the gate on fire earning the NHL’s Second Star of the Week award last week. In 5 appearances (3 starts) he has allowed only 2 goals on 87 shots against for a perfect 4-0 record.

Capitals next game is the final of a three-game trip in Columbus on Saturday night at 7 PM EST.

Capital Gain:

*On December 3, the Capitals AHL farm team in Hershey made a splash…

*TJ Oshie has begun skating as per head coach Todd Reirden
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