The Capitals held a sparsely-attended optional morning skate at BankAtlantic Center ahead of their tilt with the Florida Panthers in the second half of back-to-back games this week.

Those who were on the ice were: Alex Ovechkin (who will serve the final game of his three-game suspension tonight), Jason Chimera, Joel Ward, Michal Neuvirth, John Erskine, Jeff Schultz, Jay Beagle, Cody Eakin and Joel Rechlicz.

Scott Clemmensen gets the nod in net for the Panthers, as Jose Theodore is out with a knee injury. Clemmensen was in net for Florida’s 5-4 win over the Capitals on Dec. 5, stopping 28 of the 32 shots he faced in that meeting. In 13 career meetings against Washington, Clemmensen is 3-6-1 with a .863 save percentage and 3.84 goals-against average.

Theodore won’t be the only name missing from Florida’s lineup. The Panthers announced today that Scottie Upshall will undergo sports hernia surgery and is expected to miss at least a month, while they will also be without Kris Versteeg (flu), Jack Skille (shoulder), Dmitry Kulikov (knee) and Ed Jovanovski (hand).

It’s unclear who will start for the Capitals, but it wouldn’t be surprising for Tomas Vokoun to get the call against his former squad. Vokoun played last night against the Lightning, but has started 13 of the past 15 games and Coach Dale Hunter hasn’t hesitated to give him a heavy workload.

More to come once Hunter speaks to reporters this morning.

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