Game Day: Flames Go to Washington, Battle Capitals
The Calgary Flames battle the Washington Capitals in D.C. in a Friday matinee with the end of their road trip in sight.
The Calgary Flames (9-7-3) have had arguably the toughest start in the entire NHL through the first quarter of the season, yet still find themselves within striking distance of second spot in the Pacific Division. The Washington Capitals (8-10-3) have been disappointing but finally ended a four-game skid on Wednesday with an overtime victory.
Calgary comes in off an emotional 2-1 shootout loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh. But they have five of eight points on the six-game road trip so far and are looking to close out strong. Dillon Dube is heating up. Defenceman Nikita Zadorov is surpassing all expectations. Backup goalie Dan Vladar looks incredible during his opportunities. And the lines are finding balance up front and on the back end.
“We’re in a good spot to have a successful road-trip, but the last two games are going to be key to make sure that happens,” Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Gilbert said on Thursday.
The first one is against a wounded but dangerous opponent.
Alex Ovechkin had the overtime winner this week and is 10 goals away from 800. Linemate Dylan Strome has points in three of his last four games, and T.J. Oshie is coming off a two-assist performance in his return to the lineup. The Caps are still dealing with a number of injuries. Nicklas Backstrom, Connor Brown, Dmitry Orlov are among the most significant. That's part of the reason the team sits second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division right now.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Adam Ruzicka – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Dillon Dube – Nazem Kadri – Andrew Mangiapane
Jonathan Huberdeau – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Milan Lucic – Kevin Rooney – Trevor Lewis
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
Nikita Zadorov – MacKenzie Weegar
Dennis Gilbert – Chris Tanev
Jacob Markstrom/Dan Vladar
Washington Capitals Projected Lineup
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Lars Eller-Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-John Carlson
Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Trevor van Riemsdyk