The Capitals host Carolina in the first of a critical home-and-home between the two Southeast Division teams this week. Washington trails the division-leading Hurricanes by eight points and if it wants to keep any hope of a Southeast title alive, it needs to at least earn a split this week. A pair of regulation losses would severely damage the Capitals’ attempt to catch Carolina.
Braden Holtby (9-8-0, 2.97 GAA, .909 save percentage) gets the nod for the 13th time in the past 14 games. With Cam Ward out with a knee injury, Holtby will be opposed by Justin Peters (1-1, 3.53 GAA, .897 save percentage). The last time he faced Washington, Peters backstopped the Hurricanes to a 5-0 win on Feb. 20, 2012.
Before puck drop, get caught up on the events of the day: Brooks Laich made a “huge step” in his recovery; Mike Green not quite ready to return; Marcus Johansson is back on the top line; The Capitals will have three defensemen in the lineup tonight who were in Hershey when the NHL season began; and Adam Oates takes issue with the criticism of Alex Ovechkin.
Faceoff: 7 p.m. Verizon Center | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7
Discuss the game in the comment section below and based on warmups here’s what the lineup should look like:
Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth.
Scratches: John Erskine (hand/wrist), Tom Poti (upper-body), Joey Crabb and Aaron Volpatti.
IR: Mike Green (groin), Jack Hillen and Brooks Laich (groin, non-roster).