Preview: Flames at Capitals
The Washington Capitals surged to the top of the Metropolitan Division behind some stellar play on the road and showed no signs of slowing down in their first home game in two weeks. After demolishing upstart Buffalo on Friday night, the Capitals will enter Sunday's matchup against the visiting Calgary Flames owning the NHL's best record and an eight-game point streak.
Washington has notched at least four goals in seven of its last eight games (7-0-1), scoring four times in the first period alone in the 6-1 mauling of the Sabres. "I think we're really confident right now," forward Jakub Vrana told reporters after netting two goals Friday. "We have lots of energy. Especially when we came back from that road trip. That brings us a lot of energy." The Capitals went 4-0-1 on their five-game road trip that included a 5-3 victory over Calgary, which blanked another Metropolitan Division opponent as David Rittich made 43 saves in a 3-0 win at Columbus on Saturday night. The Flames, seeking a season-high third straight victory in the final stop of a four-game trek, have won three of their last five visits to Washington.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NHL Network; Sportsnet (Calgary), NBCS Washington
ABOUT THE FLAMES (8-6-2): Elias Lindholm, whose nine goals last month were the most by a Calgary player in October since Valeri Bure scored 10 times in 1999, collected a pair of assists Saturday to give him eight points during a six-game streak that started with a goal versus Washington. Sean Monahan snapped a career high-tying 13-game goal drought in the win over Columbus, but he has lit up the Capitals for seven tallies and four assists in 13 meetings. Cam Talbot is 3-6-0 with a 2.64 goals-against average versus the Capitals after allowing four goals on Oct. 22.
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (10-2-3): Think Washington and offense comes to mind, mainly due to the presence of captain Alex Ovechkin, who already has 11 goals. However, the fourth line of Brendan Leipsic, Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd answered the bell against Buffalo by combining for five points. "I mean obviously the big dogs, they are big dogs for a reason, but ... I think the mark of a good team is a team that has that ability when your first two lines maybe aren’t on their ‘A game’ and you can get a third or fourth line that can step up and contribute,” Boyd told reporters.
1. Ovechkin had a goal and an assist at Calgary on Oct. 22 and has 11 and 14, respectively, in 18 games versus the Flames.
2. Flames F Matthew Tkachuk scored three times in his last two games and has one tally and four points in six meetings versus Washington.
3. Capitals D Michal Kempny has eight points in seven games after collecting three assists Friday.
PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Flames 3