Washington Capitals (3-8-1) at Florida Panthers (4-6-1) 7:30 pm
Tonight’s matchup provides the Florida Panthers with a chance for revenge against the Washington Capitals. The two teams met Saturday in Washington and the Capitals dominated a flat Panthers team winning 5-0. Florida is returning home after a four game road trip last week in which they went 2-1-1. Tonight is the first of a four game home stand in which they will also play the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Lightning. Washington is beginning a three game road trip where they will do the Florida circuit, with games against the Panthers and Lightning, before finishing the trip Sunday against the New York Rangers.
With the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals occupying the bottom two slots in the Southeast Division, and for that matter the Eastern Conference, tonight’s match should be a spirited affair. Currently Florida has 9 points, two ahead of Washington’s 7 and with the season progressing rapidly, each loss for these two teams, who have struggled out of the gate, means an increase in desperation. Florida needs this game badly, not only for the two points but to prove their 5-0 loss to Capitals was simply an aberration and a result of tired legs after a long road trip.
The Capitals’ 5-0 win Saturday was the first game of four between the two teams this season. With the win Saturday, Washington has now won three straight against Florida stretching back to last season. The Panthers have demonstrated an ability to handle the Capitals in South Florida recently, going 4-1-1 at home against Washington over the past two years. After tonight the teams will not meet until March 7th in Washington.
Players to Watch:
Mike Ribiero leads the Capitals in scoring with four goals and ten assists. He recorded an assist in Saturday’s victory over Florida. Meanwhile the always dangerous Alex Ovechkin is in the midst of a four game point streak in which he has scored two goals and three assists. For his career against Florida, Ovi has 52 points (25 G, 27 A) in 44 games.
Here is the Panthers lineup per NHL.com:
Pre Game Points:
- Alex Kovalev will be back in the lineup after being replaced by Jack Skille the last two games. Skille remains in the lineup as Jerred Smithsonwill be the healthy scratch tonight.
- Braden Holtby should be in the net again for the Caps after recording the shutout Saturday night. Scott Clemmensen should get the start for the Panthers in place of Jose Theodore. Theodore allowed five goals on 21 shots in the loss Saturday and was eventually pulled in favor of Clemmensen who stopped all four shots that came his way.
- The Gudbranson-Campbell defensive pairing seems to have been short-lived as it appears Kuba will be playing along side Campbell while Gudbranson will be paired with Tyson Strachan.
- In other lineup notes, the Fleischmann-Weiss-Versteeg line will be reunited meaning Peter Mueller will return to a line alongside Jonathan Huberdeau and Drew Shore.
- Finally, the Panthers have been on the road a lot recently so Panther fans have been itching to get back to the BB&T Center to GET IT ON!!
Enjoy tonight’s game.