Coach Adam Oates and the Capitals talked about the importance of being able to get off to a strong start Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets, who are playing in the second of back-to-back games.
Given what’s on the line for his team, though, Winnipeg Coach Claude Noel isn’t concerned about his team finding the ability to fight for their postseason hopes even if it is their second game in as many days.
“We know we’ve played, this time of year you’ve just gotta – I’ll recognize it with using the bench and the number of players but I think it’d be hard for players not to find energy,” Noel said Tuesday evening at Verizon Center. “The only energy you lose is if you are nervous and that drains you and that’s a little bit difficult.”
The Capitals certainly should have an adrenaline boost for this game as well, considering that they’ve gone from a 2-8-1 start and being last in the NHL to being on the cusp of a fifth Southeast Division title in six seasons. This game against Winnipeg is a chance to ensure that their steady improvement will certainly result in a third-seed for the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“This is an extremely big game in the whole season and we want to get in the playoffs. That’s been our whole goal,” Troy Brouwer said. “We’ve worked hard all season long. Had a little bit of a tough start and came on later at the end. Guys aren’t too over-excited but they know the magnitude of the game.”
Faceoff: 7 p.m. Verizon Center | TV: CSN | Radio: 1500 AM
Here’s what the Capitals’ lineup should look like:
Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth.
Scratches: Brooks Laich (groin), Joel Ward (left knee contusion), Jeff Schultz and Wojtek Wolski.
IR: Tom Poti.