4 things to know for Caps-Canucks: Backstrom, Dowd still out

J.J. Regan

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A shorthanded Capitals team (16-4-4) suffered just its fourth regulation loss of the season on Wednesday in New York. They will look to rebound on Saturday in a matinee matchup against the Vancouver Canucks (11-8-4).  You can catch all the action on NBC Sports Washington with Caps FaceOff Live kicking things off at  11:30 a.m. before Caps Pregame Live begins at 12 p.m. to bring you up to the 12:30 p.m. puck drop. Stick with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Postgame Live and Caps Overtime Live.

Here are four things to know for Saturday's game.

No Backstrom, no Dowd

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The suspension to Garnet Hathaway and injuries to Carl Hagelin, Nic Dowd and Nicklas Backstrom prompted several roster moves prior to Wednesday's game. Playing with a depleted roster, the Caps lost 4-1 to the New York Rangers. They won't be getting any of those players back for Saturday.

Hathaway remains suspended for two more games and Hagelin is on LTIR. Dowd is on IR and eligible to return at any time. He skated early on Friday, but neither he nor Backstrom participated in practice. Reirden said both players remain day-to-day with upper-body injuries and will not play against Vancouver.

There was only one small tweak to the lineup from what we saw in New York as Reirden switched centers on the bottom lines.

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie
Richard Panik - Chandler Stephenson - Travis Boyd
Beck Malenstyn - Mike Sgarbossa - Brendan Leipsic

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Radko Gudas
Jonas Siegenthaler - Nick Jensen

One additional move, Christian Djoos was recalled on Friday and Tyler Lewington was reassigned to Hershey. Djoos, however, will not play Saturday. Reirden said recalling him was both to reward him for his good play in Hershey and as injury insurance with Saturday's game being at 12:30.

The penalty kill struggled in New York

Washington allowed two power play goals in one game for the first time all season on Wednesday. For the season, the Caps' penalty kill is at 83.3-percent, good for 11th in the league, but it was no surprise to see the team struggle on Wednesday given who the team is missing. Hagelin, Dowd and Hathaway have all played significant minutes on the penalty kill this season. Backstrom has not, but he has in the past and, with those other three out, he likely would have stepped in on Wednesday. Having one of the best two-way forwards as a backup plan for the penalty kill is a pretty good strategy, but now all four are out against a lethal Canucks power play that ranks fourth in the league clicking at 27.1-percent.

Caps earned a crazy win in Vancouver

Washington visited Vancouver on Oct. 25 and these two teams played in the craziest game so far this season for the Caps. The Canucks took a 5-1 lead in the second period, but Kuznetsov scored in the final second of the period to make it 5-2 and spark the comeback. Michal Kempny scored twice in the third period as the Caps tied the game at 5 and went on to win in a shootout.

Here's the recap of that game.

Elias Pettersson is the real deal

The 21-year-old center is already a superstar. In 23 games this season, he has nine goals and 19 assists. He is tied for 10th in the NHL in points and tied for seventh in assists. He scored one goal and two assists in the Canucks' win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday.


4 things to know for Caps-Canucks: Backstrom, Dowd still out originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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