The last time the Capitals won a game in Vancouver was Feb. 14, 2001. More than 12 years have passed since that contest — when Adam Oates scored the game-winning goal in overtime for a 4-3 Capitals victory — but he certainly remembers the play.
“You never forget a goal,” Oates said after the morning skate. “On [Dan] Cloutier, overtime, far post. Absolutely. I can’t believe it’s been that long.”
Washington hasn’t fared well against the Canucks, who have won four of the past five matchups between the two squads, in recent years or goaltender Roberto Luongo dating back to his time with the Florida Panthers.
In his last 14 games against the Capitals, a stretch that dates back to the 2003-04 season, Luongo is 13-1 with two shutouts and a .933 save percentage. His 18 wins against Washington is the second most among all active goaltenders behind only Martin Brodeur (39) and since joining Vancouver, Luongo is 5-1 against the Capitals having given up more than two goals only once.
Alex Ovechkin didn’t record a point in Calgary but hasn’t been held off the scoresheet in consecutive games this season. Luongo knows that the Canucks will have their work cut out for them to try and keep Ovechkin quiet offensively.
“He’s very dangerous, he’s got a great shot, we’ve got to make sure we’re tight on him, don’t give him space to release,” Luongo said of Ovechkin. “Guys like that you’ve got to be in their face the whole game. If you give him any sort of space they’re going to make something out of nothing and he’s got good linemates to feed him the puck.”
Canucks Coach John Tortorella is also quite familiar with the Capitals, thanks to years of history with the Rangers, but he declined to dive too much into detail about the challenges Ovechkin poses ahead of Monday’s contest.
“It’s not just him, they have some quality offensive people,” Tortorella said. “I don’t think you stop completely some of the top offensive players and they have some. You just try to limit.”