Nic Dowd Set To Return, Changes To Forward Lines And Defensive Pairs: Notes From Capitals Monday Practice

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The Washington Capitals returned to MedStar Capitals Iceplex Monday morning for practice following a day off for the team on Sunday. Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said Dowd is “definitely getting closer” and they plan to discuss this afternoon whether he’ll be able to play tomorrow. JOHN CARLSONJohn Carlson was on the ice before Capitals practice on Monday morning, working out with Capitals skating coach, Wendy Marco. STAT OF THE DAY – SHOOTING PERCENTAGEToday’s stat of the day revisits the Capitals team shooting percentage at five-on-five over the course of the season (58 games). Bonus Stat – why the return of Nic Dowd is so important can be easily defined in the following metrics table.
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Preview: Capitals’ Matinee With Montreal Wraps Up 2022

Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty ImagesThe Washington Capitals host the Montreal Canadiens for the final time this season when they meet in the District on Saturday afternoon, New Year’s Eve. Washington took the first meeting by a score of 3-1 on October 15 and are 5-0-1 in their last six vs. Montreal, including four straight wins. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 4 PM ET. SCHEDULEMontreal: continue four-game Southeast road trip after dropping the first two by a combined score of 11-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on back-to-back nights, stretch where they play seven straight away from Bell Centre (1-3-1 so far)Washington: continue three-game homestand where they play just Atlantic Division opponents, which opened with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on ThursdayRECORDSMontreal: 15-18-3/.458 points percentage – last in Atlantic Division, 14th in Eastern Conference; 6-9-3 on road, 19th in NHLWashington: 20-13-5/.592 points percentage – third in Metropolitan Division (but sixth in points percentage), tied for fifth in Eastern Conference (ninth); 11-5-2 at home, tied for seventhHOW EACH TEAM IS DOINGMontreal: four straight losses, are 4-9-2 since November 29 (third-worst)Washington: have points in six straight (5-0-1) and are 10-1-1 in last 12, 13-3-2 in their last 18 since dropping nine of their previous 11 (2-6-3)TEAM LEADERSMontrealRW Cole Caufield (19 goals)C Kirby Dach (17 assists)C Nick Suzuki (31 points, 20:58 TOI/game) — excluding D Mike Matheson (24:14)/D David Savard (22:17)Notes: Caufield, 21, has gone scoreless in four straight and has a -4 rating over that span; Suzuki, 23, has gone scoreless in five straight, has a -4 rating over that span, and has just one goal in his last seven (-8); RW Josh Anderson has one goal, one assist in last eight and went scoreless in three straight before scoring in Florida; LW Mike Hoffman ended a three-game scoring drought with an assist on Thursday, has just one goal, two points in last nine; D Arber Xhekaj has one goal, three points in last three; LW Juraj Slafkovsky has gone scoreless in seven straight; LW Brendan Gallagher has gone scoreless in five straight but didn’t play for a month over that stretch; LW Evgenii Dadonov has just two goals, eight points in 29 games this seasonWashingtonLW Alex Ovechkin (23 goals, 42 points)C Evgeny Kuznetsov (24 assists)D Dmitry Orlov (22:23 TOI/game) — excluding D John CarlsonNotes: Ovechkin, 37, has 21 goals and 37 points in his last 32, including 10 goals, 17 points, five multi-point efforts in his last 12; Kuznetsov, 30, has 11 assists and 14 points over his last 13, including two goal and seven points in his last six; LW Anthony Mantha has just two assists in his last seven; D Erik Gustafsson has a +14 rating over his last nine and five goals, 10 points over a six-game point-streak; LW Sonny Milano has two goals, six points in his last seven; LW Conor Sheary has four assists, five points over three-game point-streak; C Nic Dowd has four goals, six points in his last eightKEY TEAM STATSGoals-per-game: MTL – 2.61 (T-28th) WSH – 3.11 (17th)Goals-against per game: MTL – 3.58 (T-26th) WSH – 2.74 (T-9th)Power Play: MTL – 14.9% (32nd) WSH – 21% (T-20th)Penalty Kill: MTL – 75.4% (22nd) WSH – 81.8% (7th)Shots-per-game: MTL – 28.2 (30th) WSH – 31.3 (18th)Shots-against per game: MTL – 33.5 (26th) WSH – 30.5 (T-11th)Faceoff-winning %: MTL – 50.2% (13th) WSH – 48.8% (T-21st)5v5 Corsi-for %: MTL – 47.91% (24th) WSH – 50.66% (16th)5v5 x Goals-For %: MTL – 44.04% (29th) WSH – 50.9% (17th)5v5 SCF %: MTL – 44.35% (26th) WSH – 50.92% (13th)5v5 Shooting %: MTL – 8.39% (15th) WSH – 8.04% (21st)5v5 Save %: MTL – .9073 (28th) WSH – .9235 (9th)5v5 PDO: MTL – .991 (24th) WSH – 1.004 (14th)EXPECTED STARTING GOALTENDERSMontreal: Jake Allen, 32 — 9-14-1, .900 save percentage, 3.29 goals-against average in 24 games this season; 3-3-0, .902 save percentage, 2.97 goals-against average, one shutout in six career games vs. WashingtonWashington: Charlie Lindgren, 29 — 10-4-2, .912 save percentage, 2.60 goals-against average in 17 games this season; 22 saves (.957 save percentage) in St. Louis Blues’ 4-1 win over Montreal on December 11, 2021, the lone appearance he has made against his former team in his careerMontrealMatheson (lower-body, will miss sixth straight game, out indefinitely)Savard (upper-body, 13th, week-to-week)G Carey Price (knee, 37th, entire season)LW Paul Byron (hip, 37th, indefinite)C Sean Monahan (lower-body, 12th, week-to-week)WashingtonCarlson (upper-body, third, indefinite)RW Connor Brown (ACL, 35th, indefinite)LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 39th, indefinite)RW Tom Wilson (ACL, 39th, indefinite)C Nicklas Backstrom (hip/COVID-19 protocol, 39th, indefinite)RW T.J. Oshie (upper-body, sixth, day-to-day)PROJECTED LINEUPSMontrealCaufield — Suzuki — DachHoffman — Jake Evans — AndersonSlafkovsky — Christian Dvorak — GallagherDadonov — Jona

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