After taking care of business in a 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers in their season opener Wednesday night, the Capitals face a much stiffer test in the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning for Game 2 of 82.
Tampa Bay played host to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first game Tuesday, but the road team played spoiler after the banner-raising ceremony by running away with a 6-2 win. Now, the Lightning travel to D.C. on Saturday looking for their first win of the 2021-22 season.
Here’s everything you need to know before puck drop.
CAPITALS VS. LIGHTNING HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
When: Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 at 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Capitals vs. Lightning will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports channel finder)
CAPITALS VS. LIGHTNING TV SCHEDULE
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live (LIVE)
7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Lightning (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live (LIVE)
CAPITALS VS. LIGHTNING WHAT TO WATCH
After Vitek Vanecek got the nod for Wednesday's game, Ilya Samsonov is expected to be between the pipes Saturday. The 24-year-old goalie posted a .902 save percentage last season, allowing 2.69 goals per game. Those numbers were nearly identical to those Vanecek put up, so it was noteworthy that head coach Peter Laviolette turned to the latter for the season opener. Samsonov will look to live up to his lofty prospect status and earn a greater share of the starts in goal this season.
With Nicklas Backstrom out while he rehabs a hip injury, the Capitals' center depth is being tested early this season. Rookie Hendrix Lapierre, a former first-round pick, played center on the third line Wednesday and scored his first career goal. It's unlikely the 19-year-old sticks around all season, but he has an early chance to impress Capitals coaches while Backstrom remains sidelined.
CAPITALS VS. LIGHTNING PLAYERS TO WATCH
Capitals: Alex Ovechkin, LW (1 game, 2 goals, 2 assists): Ovechkin stuffed the stat sheet in the season opener, though no number was more significant than 732. The veteran forward's second goal marked the 732 of his career, passing Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth most all time. With a new contract in hand, Ovechkin is on a collision course for Wayne Gretzky's goals record and he's shown no signs of slowing down.
Lightning: Steven Stamkos, C (1 game, 0 goals, 2 assists): Stamkos has been bitten hard by the injury bug in recent seasons, but he enters the new campaign with a clean bill of health. That's good news for the Lightning, who could use a full season from the two-time Richard Trophy winner. Stamkos has played just two full seasons in the last five years.