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Sadly for the Washington Capitals, they began 2022 the same way they ended 2021 with regards to overtime: Washington took a 4-3 loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils in OT. The good news, though, was that Washington snagged a point and clawed back from two separate two-goal deficits.
After the Caps' Jan. 4 game in Montreal was postponed due to Canadian attendance restrictions, Washington will be hungry and well-rested for their away matchup in St. Louis on Friday.
The Caps sit tied for first place in the Metropolitan Division with the New York Rangers, whose three-game winning streak catapulted them to the top. The Carolina Hurricanes are lurking, though, and only trail the Caps and Rangers by one point, even though they have played three fewer games.
With a spot atop the Metro hanging in the balance, here's everything you need to know about Friday's game:
CAPITALS VS. BLUES HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Capitals vs. St. Louis Blues
Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Missouri
When: Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, at 8:00 p.m.
TV Channel: Capitals vs. Blues will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports channel finder) and on NHL Network.
CAPITALS VS. BLUES TV SCHEDULE
7:30 PM: Capitals Pregame Live (NBCSW)
8:00 PM: Capitals vs. Blues (LIVE)
10:30 PM: Capitals Postgame Live (NBCSW)
CAPITALS VS. BLUES WHAT TO WATCH
Washington's upcoming slate is a tough one, as they take on the Blues, Wild, Bruins, and Golden Knights before the month of January is out. Kicking off their two-game road stand with a win could be crucial.
Of critical importance on Friday night will be special teams. Washington, for lack of a better word, has stunk on the power play all season, as they've converted on just 11% of man advantages -- the fifth-worst mark in the league. St. Louis, though, posts the NHL's fourth-best power play at 26.3%. The Caps will need to stay out of the box and maintain pressure on Friday if they want to win.
The Blues had a very good ending to 2021, capping off a 6-2-2 December with a 6-4 win over the Wild on New Year's Day in the NHL Stadium Series. St. Louis also boasts the best home record in the Western Conference, going 12-3-2 at the Enterprise Center this year. Friday night is sure to be a battle.
CAPITALS VS. BLUES PLAYERS TO WATCH
T.J. Oshie, Capitals, RW (4 goals, 8 assists, 12 points in 16 games): The Caps got one of their star players back in late December, but Oshie missed the game against the Devils with a non-COVID illness. If he can suit up, pay close attention to how he fares in the stadium which he called home from 2008-2015.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Blues, RW (14 goals, 19 assists, 33 points in 33 games): Tarasenko is STL's leading point-getter this season and is one of the most elusive right-wingers in the game. When the Blues took down the Wild in the Stadium Series, Tarasenko's second-period goal put the game out of reach for the Wild. Let's see how Washington plans to contain the 30-year-old Russian.