The Washington Capitals put an end to their six-game losing streak on Saturday when they put a six spot on the scoreboard against the New York Rangers. The Caps followed that victory up by immediately flying to Buffalo to hopefully start a winning streak and beat New York teams on back-to-back days.
The Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs reports that starting in net for the Caps, as he did on Saturday, will be Darcy Kuemper. It will be Kuemper’s first set of back-to-back starts in the 2022-23 season.
Kuemper will get his seventh start in the month of February after taking down the Rangers in a 23-save performance. Backup netminder Charlie Lindgren has started just twice in February and only five times total since the calendar flipped into 2023.
“He was really good,” Caps head coach Peter Laviolette said of Kuemper postgame Saturday. “I thought he was dialed in with the rest of the group so he did have big saves in there. I thought he was on point with this game right from the start.”
Kuemper has given up three or more goals in five straight starts and in 12 of his last 17. He’ll look to end that against the Sabres as he gets right back in the net after a victory.
Typically, analytics show that you should almost never start a goaltender on back-to-back days. Kuemper has tended to buck that trend in his career though.
Kuemper starts for #Caps today, 1st time team has gone with same starter in both ends of back-to-back in '22-23.
Kuemper career day games: 18-9-3 with seven SO, 1.83/.937 in 32 games (30 starts).
Kuemper career 0 days rest: 8-3-0 with two SO, 1.60/.948 in 12 games (10 starts).
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) February 26, 2023
The Caps did not have a morning skate before their game against the Sabres so the forward lines and defense pairings remain up in the air. Stubbs reports that Laviolette did not have an update on whether Marcus Johansson will play after missing the game against the Rangers with a non-COVID illness.
The veteran bench boss added that the team is “working through some things in the room” when pressed about any further lineup changes.
Buffalo comes into Sunday afternoon’s action tied with the Caps at 64 points in the standings but with four games in hand. They have won two games in a row and last played on Friday against the Panthers.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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