Inconsistent Canucks visit slumping Caps
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The Washington Capitals and the Vancouver Canucks both will be looking to get back on their feet after tough one-goal losses when they meet Tuesday night in the nation's capital.
Washington slid into the All-Star break on a seven-game losing streak. The Capitals then beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Friday to start the second half before taking a 1-0 loss against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
The Canucks have alternated wins and losses over their past five games, including a 2-1 road defeat against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.
Washington goalie Braden Holtby gave a strong performance against the Bruins, making 38 saves, but inconsistent offense plagued his team again.
The Capitals have faced a number of issues this season, and they haven't been able to get everything under control. That's something that general manager Brian MacLellan addressed when speaking to the media on Monday.
He expressed frustration with the team's special-teams play and mistakes in general.
"I think we've had different issues at different times," he said. "It's never been, we've found (the problem) and we've maintained. The power play played well, then it didn't play well. The penalty kill, we take too many penalties, stress our (penalty-killing unit) and hang our goalies out to dry. A lot of different things have gone on, and we haven't figured out a way to correct all the things at the same time."
Washington made a move Monday when it re-signed rookie backup goalie Pheonix Copley to a three-year, $3.3 million contract extension. Copley has been improving as the understudy for starter Braden Holtby, and the Capitals rewarded him for that.
The Canucks are coming off a tough loss that featured a scary injury when Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler needed to be taken off the ice midway through the third period. His stick got caught in the skates of Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek, and that eventually pulled him on to the ice, face-first.
Canucks coach Travis Green told reporters on Tuesday that Edler -- who spent Monday night in a Philadelphia hospital before traveling back Tuesday -- will miss at least a week with a concussion, but added he does not have any facial fractures.
The team announced also announced that goalie Thatcher Demko got hurt during the morning skate, so Mike DiPietro was called up from Ottawa of the Ontario Hockey League on an emergency basis. DiPietro was headed to Washington to be the backup on Tuesday while Jacob Markstrom gets the start for a second straight night.
DiPietro, 19, is 7-2-0 with a 2.82 goals-against average in nine games for Ottawa this season. He was the Canucks' third-round pick in the 2017 draft.
Markstrom made 28 saves in the loss to the Flyers, who now have won eight straight. Philadelphia goalie Carter Hart, a 20-year old rookie, made 41 saves to stymie Vancouver.
"That's the way hockey goes sometimes," Vancouver winger Brock Boeser said after the game. "We felt we played a good solid game. ... You have to give props to Hart. He played a heck of a game."
The contest will mark former Capital Jay Beagle's first trip back to Washington since he left to sign a four-year, $12 million deal with Vancouver last summer.
The Capitals gave Beagle his 2017-18 Stanley Cup ring when the teams met in Vancouver earlier this season. He was a key member of the Capitals in many ways on the third and fourth lines, strong on faceoffs, but Washington let him go to free agency after.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 5, 2019