Caps vs. Lightning: Three Storylines to Watch

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Photo by Amanda Bowen of RRBG Photography

The Caps face the Lightning tonight at home after having won in Tampa on Tuesday 5-3 in one of the best efforts so far under Barry Trotz. There’s no doubt that the Lightning, one of the best teams in the league this season, will be looking to avenge Tuesday’s loss. Here’s three storylines to watch.

Andre Burakovsky moves to LW

Andre Burakovsky is returning to the lineup tonight, replacing Jason Chimera, who committed an unnecessary penalty that led to the winning goal for Columbus in the game on Thursday. While it would be nice for both Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov to be in the top-9 forwards, that’s a debate for another time.

What is noteworthy about Burakovsky’s return, besides the fact that one of the Caps most talented forwards won’t be watching from the press box tonight, is that he will not be playing center for the first time in his NHL career. Trotz has been adamant about Burakovsky playing at center but has opted to keep Michael Latta there for tonight. Whether this will continue remains to be seen, but simply have Burakovsky in the lineup is a positive development for the Caps

Tom Wilson seeking revenge

J.T. Brown had a questionable hit on Tom Wilson on Tuesday. Wilson sought revenge after a whistle later in the game, but Brown’s Lightning teammates, fully aware of the situation and the size discrepancy between the two, quickly intervened. While I don’t expect Wilson to do anything stupid in order to get back at Brown, you can bet that he will be looking to pay back #23 for Tampa Bay, if the opportunity presents itself.

Steven Stamkos vs. Brooks Orpik and John Carlson

I’ve written before about the fact that I don’t like Orpik and Carlson as the Caps shutdown pair. Quire frankly, they just aren’t very good as a pair in that role.This is especially worrying when one of the NHL’s best forwards comes to town.

However, Stamkos has seen only 48.2% of total shot attempts go in his team’s favor when he’s been on the ice against Carlson in his career. Orpik has fared even better, limiting the Lightning to only 43.8% of all shot attempts when on the ice against Stamkos. Continuing this trend tonight will help the Caps try to limit Stamkos from finding the back of the net. 

About Pat Holden

Pat writes regularly about hockey on Brooks Laichyear and Russian Machine Never Breaks. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com and The Washington Post. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pfholden

Posted on December 13, 2014, in Preview and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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