The Capitals are the most successful professional ice hockey team in North America, winning 16 Stanley Cup championships and 23 conference titles. But what do you need to know about the NHL’s Washington, D.C., franchise?
The capital letters is a viewer’s guide to the capitals of the world. This viewer’s guide includes information on what each capital means and where it is located.
The NHL season in 2021-22 is already in its second week, and ESPN is airing two early-season blockbuster matches on Tuesday. The Colorado Avalanche will face the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and Hulu, while the Chicago Blackhawks will face the New York Islanders at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
We’ve put up a guide on all the important players to watch for both teams, in-depth statistical data on the teams from ESPN Stats & Information, and more to help you get ready for the clash.
ESPN+ will broadcast 75 exclusive regular-season games this season, with ABC and ESPN broadcasting a combined 28 exclusive regular-season games for a total of 103 games. You can see the full broadcast schedule here.
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Capitals -120 | Over/under: 6 | 7 p.m. ET | Watch live on ESPN+
The Avalanche have a 1-1-0 record. Nazem Kadri is the team’s top scorer (4 points)
Cale Makar of the Avalanche has averaged 36 seconds of possession time per game at or near the blue line of the offensive zone since the start of last season, tied with Adam Fox for the second-highest average among defenders in that period, behind Quinn Hughes of the Canucks (38 seconds).
Due to Nathan MacKinnon’s absence to begin the season due to the COVID-19 protocol, Mikko Rantanen has taken up the slack in terms of between-the-dots shot attempts, averaging seven per game this season (4.62 per game in 2020-21).
In Saturday’s defeat to the Blues, the Avalanche had to dress 19 players. Gabriel Landeskog was serving the first of his two-game boarding ban for his hit on Chicago’s Kirby Dach on Wednesday, while MacKinnon and Jack Johnson were in the COVID-19 procedure. Coach Jared Bednar returned after missing the season opening due to his participation in the COVID-19 procedure.
If MacKinnon, Landeskog, Valeri Nichushkin (upper-body injury), and Devon Toews (lower-body injury) all miss Tuesday’s game, the Avalanche’s point producers from last season will be down to 31%. According to reports, MacKinnon has passed protocol and is available to play tonight.
Capitals have a 1-0-1 record. Alex Ovechkin is the team’s leading scorer (5 points)
With 733 goals, Ovechkin just overtook Marcel Dionne for sixth place on the all-time goals list. Ovechkin is currently 162 goals short of surpassing Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal total. If Ovechkin maintains his 0.61 goals-per-game pace, he’ll break the mark in 266 games, which would be somewhere in the 2024-25 season (assuming he plays every single game in that span).
To overtake Jaromir Jagr for third all-time, Ovechkin needs 34 more goals. That would give him at least 37 for the season if he did it this season. He has scored at least 37 goals 12 times in a season.
Since Braden Holtby’s departure at the end of the 2019-20 season, the Capitals have mostly relied on Vitek Vanecek, 25, and Ilya Samsonov, 24, in goal. Vanecek’s save percentage is 27th (.909) and Samsonov’s save percentage ranks 40th (.902) among 59 goalies with 15 games played since the start of last season.
Line: Islanders -120 | 8 p.m. ET | Watch live on ESPN 6 (over/under)
Islanders have a 0-2-0 record. Kyle Palmieri is the team’s leading scorer (2 points)
During the regular season, the Islanders had a point percentage of.804 at home and.464 on the road. Since the Kings (.396) and Sharks (.438) in 2012-13, it was the biggest home-to-road points percentage differential (.340).
On Aug. 6, Adam Pelech signed an eight-year, $46 million contract extension with the Islanders, while Ryan Pulock inked an eight-year, $49.2 million contract agreement with the Islanders on Oct. 14, which begins next season. Pulock has 121 points since the start of the 2017-18 season, while Pelech is third with 63.
On September 18, Zdeno Chara agreed to a one-year contract with the Isles. He joined the Islanders as a third-round selection in 1996 and spent his first four NHL seasons with them. Mathew Barzal (5/26/97), Anthony Beauvillier (6/8/97), Kieffer Bellows (6/10/98), Noah Dobson (1/7/00), and Oliver Wahlstrom (6/13/00) are the only players on the current Islanders roster who were born after Chara’s draft date of June 22, 1996.
Chara has 1,610 regular-season games under his belt, only two behind Ray Bourque for fourth all-time among defenders. This season, he is well on his way to breaking Chris Chelios’ all-time record of 1,651 points.
On October 12, the NHL season began. There will be 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu, and ABC this season, as well as more than 1,000 out-of-market games on ESPN+. • How to watch: Sign up for ESPN+. • Watch NHL games on ESPN.
0-2 record for the Blackhawks Patrick Kane is the team’s leading scorer (4 points)
The Blackhawks have lost all three games they’ve played so far, and they haven’t taken the lead in any of them. In each of the three games, they have been behind by several goals at some stage. It’s the team’s second consecutive season without a victory and the sixth time in franchise history that they haven’t led after three games. 1991-92, 1985-86, and 1928-29 were the other seasons. There has never been a time in club history when they were winless in their first four games and didn’t hold the lead.
Kane and Seth Jones, a defender, were two of the first three players selected to the United States Olympic squad for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
In his career, Kane has won the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year), the Hart Trophy (MVP), the Art Ross Trophy (Top Point Scorer), and the Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP). Mario Lemieux, Evgeni Malkin, Bobby Orr, Alex Ovechkin, and Bryan Trottier are the only other players who have won all of those awards.
Along with Bob Gainey, Steve Yzerman, and Ryan O’Reilly, Jonathan Toews is one of four players to win the Conn Smythe and Selke trophy (best defensive forward).
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