The Washington Capitals are set to host the Colorado Avalanche in an NHL regular season encounter.
The Washington Capitals, fighting for a playoff spot, have racked up 3 points from a possible 4 in their last couple weekend games, despite a defeat at overtime by Vancouver. The encounter with Vancouver indicated an improvement in the Capitals' performance, regardless of the current trials. Netminder Darcy Kuemper, dealing with struggles and recent losses, is poised to face off against his former squad which he once led to a Stanley Cup victory. With an upcoming series of away games, Washington is faced with a requirement to improve their standing, especially against teams ranked higher in the table. Backup goalie Charlie Lindgren let all 6 pucks in from 31 shots in his last face-off with Colorado. Kuemper lost both of his games against Colorado in the previous season.
Currently at 23-20-8, the Capitals are looking to bolster their stats, particularly on offence and defence, where the team averages a score of 2.37 goals per game while conceding 3.02. Despite his age, Alex Ovechkin remains a key player, scoring and assisting; however, the absence of Evgeny Kuznetsov considerably impacts the team's attacking capabilities. Ovechkin, at 38 years, continues to perform impressively, scoring in 5 consecutive games and collecting 16 points from the last 15 meetings. The Capitals face serious trials this season, including instability in the goalie line, where Kuemper yields inconsistent results and Charlie Lindgren displays more stable play. The efforts of Dylan Strome and other players aim to rebuild confidence and aspire to victories, reminding of the important Stanley Cup win in 2018, despite current challenges.
The Colorado Avalanche is going through a tricky spell, facing a series of defeats in recent games including a big 0:4 to Florida, highlighting the team's struggle to maintain competitiveness. Consecutive failures against Carolina, New Jersey, and Rangers raised concerns within the collective, necessitating a rethink in strategy and efforts to correct gameplay errors. Nonetheless, the team holds strong at the top of their season stats with a score of 32-17-4, showcasing a solid attack with 3.66 goals per game on average, although they concede 3.17 goals. Top point scorer for the team, Nathan MacKinnon, has hit a temporary dry spell after a 14-game point streak, yet his contribution alongside the crucial role of other key players such as Mikko Rantanen and Artturi Lehkonen remains defining for Colorado.
The goalie game is also in focus with the Russian pair Georgiev/Prosvetov showing not always stable results. Nathan MacKinnon is among the top scorers with 32 goals and 53 assists; the team's second top scorer, Russian Valeri Nichushkin, continues to miss games due to psychological issues, reportedly related to insomnia as per the media.
On January 25, 2024, Colorado triumphed over Washington with a score of 6:2, featuring a poker from MacKinnon. Earlier, on November 20, 2023, Colorado also had a victory against Washington, this time with a score of 3:2. The meeting on April 19, 2023, culminated a Colorado victory over Washington with a dominating score of 4:0. However, in the game on October 20, 2022, Washington managed to defeat Colorado with a score of 3:2. Moreover, in the battle on January 25, 2022, Washington triumphed over Colorado with a score of 6:3.
Both teams are in poor form and show 1 win in the last 5 matches, Washington has had its attacking issues since the start of the season, and Colorado has only managed to score 6 goals in 4 losses. I can't single out the Avalanche as match favourites, but I will lean towards an extension to Ovechkin's run and their home win.