THIS GAME HAS BEEN POSTPONED
Here's the official word from the NHL. Officially postponed. https://t.co/YGhU9o63y2— Anaheim Calling (@AnaheimCalling) January 22, 2016
Ducks are leaving hotel and heading to airport shortly. Snow beginning to fall in D.C. The wise move when all is said and done.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) January 22, 2016
It's been since December of 2013 that the Anaheim Ducks have been able to claim both points against the Washington Capitals, and they'll face a tall task in taking on the current league leaders with a bumped up start time thanks to impending inclement weather.
Ducks: Wednesday, January 20 vs Minnesota (3-1 W) "Ducks Out-Grit Wild For Home Stand Ending 3-1 Win"
Capitals: Tuesday, January 19 at Columbus (6-3 W) "Special Teams Specialty In Caps 6-3 Win"
It's almost as if fans that sat through the Ducks win over Minnesota deserve some sort of special recognition, considering the trap fest that seemed more befitting of being in Denver. Yet for all the carnage on the ice, particularly the second period where the visitors did everything but score in completely dominating Anaheim in essentially every metric, the new look lineup is worth a PawS and consideration. Though the Kesler line had a rough outing matched against Minnesota's top two lines, the combination of Rickard Rakell with Patrick Maroon and Corey Perry not only produced one of the most sublime goals of the season, but the three ended up generating nine scoring chances and five high danger looks between them.
It appears that the reconfigured lineup will be the new normal for Anaheim, particularly with the acquisition of Ryan Garbutt from Chicago in exchange for Jiri Sekac. While bemoaning the loss of a more skill based player for a speed and grit type (we get it, folks are still upset about 2014), it actually makes the lineup seating more clear with Garbutt likely able to slide in alongside Nate Thompson and Shawn Horcoff or Mike Santorelli to create a solid, defensive forechecking fourth line. For a team that's had trouble scoring (and Sekac wasn't doing anything to help that, tied with Thompson for fewest points amongst Ducks forwards that had begun the season in Anaheim with three), it removes a misfit piece for another that may make it easier to play the kind of low scoring, event controlling game that the Ducks lack of offense has forced them to adopt this season.
SB Nation Capitals affiliate site Japers' Rink did a fantastic exploration of Boudreau's usage of the trap near the end of his tenure in Washington, painting the picture of the kind of season that ended his run that seems eerily familiar in Orange County. Give it a read here.
After years of watching Barry Trotz coach consistently under-manned Nashville teams to playoff berths and wonder just what he could do with a team with legitimate firepower, the 2015-16 Washington Capitals are your answer, and they are GOOD. Not only are the Caps the highest scoring team in the league with 155 goals in 46 games, but they've also allowed four fewer than the next closest defense. The offense comes from everywhere, with seven players already in double-digit goals, 13 with at least ten assists, and 15 players with ten or more points. The defense is perhaps even more impressive considering they've spent the last 12 games without John Carlson, and will be without Brooks Orpik until after the All Star break. Karl Alzner will set a franchise record appearing in his 423rd consecutive game.
While the ruthlessness of Alex Ovechkin against the Ducks is well documented (nine goals and ten assists in 11 games), it's fellow countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov that's leading the team in scoring with 15 goals and a team best 33 assists for 48 points. Ovechkin, of course, still leads the team in goal scoring, but Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, and Justin Williams all have more than 15 goals. Add on top of it dominant goaltending from Braden Holtby, and it will make for a major challenge with Anaheim trying to beat the blizzard out of the nation's capital.
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, and of course your Numbers For Nerds.