As the Capitals made their run up the standings in recent weeks they had the benefit of having played fewer games than the Winnipeg Jets, who are their only other competitor for the Southeast Division crown. Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning marks Washington’s last game in hand on the Jets, who are idle, and an important opportunity to increase its lead on first place in the division to four points.
Thursday night after a 3-1 win against Carolina, players acknowledged to scoreboard watching in the intermissions and taking note of how Winnipeg was faring. Against Tampa Bay Saturday, there won’t be any out-of-town scoreboard serving as motivation, simply a game the Capitals need to win.
This tilt against the 13th-place Lightning marks the last game of the seven that remain in Washington’s regular season slate against a team not in the playoff hunt.
“It’s a battle of attrition right now in our conference and division and there’s no room for error,” Mike Green said. “There’s no room to lose hockey games right now but it is nice that we’re not having to scoreboard watch.”
In net it will be Braden Holtby (18-11-1, 2.65 GAA, .917 save percentage) against Ben Bishop (10-8-0, 2.56 GAA, .923 save percentage). On April 7, Bishop allowed three goals on 37 goals as the Capitals claimed a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay.
Faceoff: 7 p.m. Verizon Center | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7
Discuss the game in the comment section below and based on warmup here’s what the lineup should look like:
Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth.
Scratches: Brooks Laich (lower-body/groin), Joel Ward (left knee contusion), Jeff Schultz and Wojtek Wolski.
IR: Tom Poti (back).