Braden Holtby will make his 11th consecutive start and his 28th of the season Saturday night as the Capitals make their final visit to South Florida as a member of the Southeast Division.
Holtby (16-11-1, 2.69 goals-against average, .915 save percentage) will be opposed by the Panthers’ Jacob Markstrom (6-7-1, 2.57 goals-against average, .922 save percentage).
Florida has won three straight — granted two contests required a shootout and the other needed overtime — and Coach Adam Oates cautioned against a possible let down when facing the worst team in the Eastern Conference. But the points up for grabs Saturday night are still important ones to Washington. Winnipeg defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 Saturday afternoon and improved to 40 points but have still played two more games than the Capitals.
“I think this is probably as hard a game as you can get. Technically in the standings, you’re supposed to win but first of all they’ve won three in a row,” Oates said, citing an improvement in Markstrom since he gave up two goals on two shots to the Capitals on March 7. “They’re playing better, got some new legs some guys that are excited to be in the NHL – they don’t know any different. We’ve got to be really focused and ready to play our game.”
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. BB&T Center | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7
Discuss the game in the comment section and based on warmups here what the lineup should look like:
Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth
Scratches: Brooks Laich (lower-body), Jeff Schultz, Aaron Volpatti and Wojtek Wolski.
IR: Tom Poti (back)