Carolina Hurricanes vs Washington Capitals

Rookie coaches go head-to-head and the Carolina Hurricanes hope to climb even higher from a wildcard spot to a divisional spot as they host the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals, at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC. The puck is set to drop this Thursday night at 7PM EST. The game will be televised via NBC Sports Washington and FSCR. Radio broadcast provided by Capitals 24/7, ESPN104.5, and WFAN.

How to Watch

Where: PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC.

When: Thursday, March 28, 7PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBC Sports Washington, FSCR | WFAN, Capitals 24/7, ESPN 104.5

Washington Capitals (Away)

Head Coach: Todd Reirden {All-Time 44-24-8 WSH}

The Washington Capitals sit atop the Metropolitan division with 96 points and are all but a lock for the playoffs. At the time of writing, they have had much recent success - just like their opponents. The Caps are 44-24-8 on the season and have gone 6-3-1 in their last ten games.

These offensive juggernauts come into this game ranking high in the league’s statistics. The Washington Capitals are second overall in the league when it comes to shooting percentage and this translates into the team also ranking so highly in goals scored. They are ranked fifth in the entire NHL. They also bring to the table a tenth-place ranked powerplay. The Caps’ powerplay has more than a 21 per cent success rate. Their opponents only rank 24th - with a 16 per cent success rate with the man advantage.

However, the Capitals can’t sleep on their opponents. Any defensive mistake could cost Washington as the Hurricanes bring a speed advantage. On top of that, Washington’s defensive numbers leave much to be desired. The Capitals are 18th in the league for most shots against and 20th overall for most goals allowed. They take the 25th most penalty minutes in the league and their penalty kill is under 80 per cent successful. They are a beatable team - especially when they go against a Carolina Hurricanes team with speed, youth, and hunger.

Goaltender Braden Holtby is expected to get the start in net for the Capitals. Holtby has gone 28-19-5 on the season. His goals against average is 2.90 and his save percentage is .909. He has three shutouts.

Carolina Hurricanes (Home)

Head Coach: Rob Brind’Amour {All-Time 42-26-7 CAR}

Carolina finds themselves in a relatively good spot heading into this matchup against such a formidable opponent. The Canes currently sit in the first wildcard spot in the Eastern conference with 91 points - only four points back of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs. They carry some momentum along with them as, at the time of writing, they have won two games in a row and, like the Caps, have also gone 6-3-1 in their last ten. They are 42-26-7 on the season.

The biggest offensive advantage Carolina has in this matchup against the Capitals is their ability to get pucks to the net. The Hurricanes currently sit atop the entire league for shots on goal, averaging almost 35 shots per game. The Washington Capitals are ranked 21st in the league in the same category.

Defensively is where the Canes hold even more advantage. Should they get one of their many shots past Caps goalie Braden Holtby, they should be able to rely on their blue line for the remainder of the game. The Hurricanes also rank third in the league for the fewest shots against. They also rank seventh for fewest goals allowed where the Capitals rank 20th.The Canes take fewer penalties than their opponents and have a higher ranked penalty kill (eighth overall) than Washington (24th overall).

Goaltender Petr Mrazek is expected to get the start for Carolina. Mrazek is 20-13-3 on the season with a goals against average of 2.46 and a save percentage of .911. Mrazek has four shutouts this season.

These two teams last saw action against each other back on December 27, 2018. The Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-1.

What's At Stake?

This is Carolina’s game to lose. They have what it takes to get past a weak Washington defense, score, and play disciplined enough to keep the lead. With two more points, Carolina will be only two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Washington will make the playoffs - but in what position? They are only one point ahead of the New York Islanders and both Pittsburgh and Carolina are both able to mathematically take the divisional title from the Caps. These two points will also go a long way for Washington.

Questions to answer

Although putting together very respectable numbers this season, how will Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek stack up against the defending Cup champions?

Can the Washington Capitals defense put anything together to contain the Hurricanes?

What strategies will we see come into play as Todd Reirden and Rod Brind’Amour go head-to-head in a rookie coaches matchup?

Washington Capitals Injury Report

D Michel Kempny - day-to-day (lower-body)

Carolina Hurricanes Injury Report

None to report.

Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes Predictions and Odds

The Washington Capitals are the +100 underdog against the -120 Carolina Hurricanes.

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