(Nick Wass/Associated Press) Steve Oleksy will be one of three defensemen in the lineup tonight for the Caps who were in Hershey when the NHL season started in January.


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).