The Vegas Golden Knights take a four-game winning streak into the opener of a five-game road trip on Tuesday night when they face the Washington Capitals in a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals.
Alex Ovechkin was the MVP of that series won by Washington in five games. The 37-year-old left wing will try to achieve another milestone on Tuesday when he tries to break Gordie Howe’s NHL record for most goals with one team.
Howe scored 786 goals in 1,687 games with the Detroit Red Wings from 1946-71. Ovechkin, who scored his fifth goal of the season in a 3-2 shootout loss at Carolina on Monday night, has 785 goals in 1,284 games with the Capitals.
“I’m always saying to stay on one team for all my career is my goal,” Ovechkin told NHL.com. “Obviously, I’m lucky enough to be able to do that kind of stuff so it’s pretty cool.”
Barring injury, Ovechkin will also pass Howe for another milestone later this season. Howe’s 801 career goals rank second to Wayne Gretzky’s NHL career record 894.
Washington is 3-1-1 over its past five games despite a lengthy injury list that includes center Nicklas Backstrom (hip) and wingers Carl Hagelin (hip), Tom Wilson (knee) and Connor Brown (lower-body). Right wing T.J. Oshie (lower-body) and defenseman John Carlson (lower-body) both left the team’s 3-0 win at Nashville on Saturday in the first period. Oshie is listed as being out indefinitely while Carlson is day-to-day.
The short-handed Capitals now have to try to bounce back from a physical shootout loss to Carolina less than 24 hours later.
“We’ll wake up and deal with that tomorrow,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “You can’t coach a game saying that we’ll kind of play hard because we have to save it for tomorrow, especially in this building against that team. Our guys had to leave a lot out there tonight. We’ll get some rest tonight. We’ll wake up tomorrow and we’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.”
Vegas, which missed making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season, has won eight of its first 10 games under head coach Bruce Cassidy and leads the Pacific Division and also the Western Conference with 16 points.
The Golden Knights have done it with a stingy defense yielding a league-low 17 goals. Only Eastern Conference-leading Boston (plus-18) has a better goal differential than Vegas (plus-15).
The Golden Knights come in off an emotional 2-1 overtime victory over Winnipeg on Sunday. Jack Eichel scored the game-winner with just seven seconds left in overtime.
“It’s important to find a way to get two points there,” Eichel said after scoring his first overtime winner with the Golden Knights and ninth of his career. “It’s big. We’re going on the road for 10 or 11 days now. We’re definitely going to miss playing here. It was good to get two points before we head out.”
The Golden Knights will also visit Ottawa on Thursday, Montreal on Saturday and Toronto on Tuesday before finishing the trip in Buffalo on Nov. 10.
–Field Level Media