The Washington Capitals (4-0-0) host the Florida Panthers (3-1-0) at 7pm from Verizon Center tonight. The Panthers come off of a 7-4 win in Tampa last night and went 5 for 9 on the power play, which tied a franchise record for most power play goals in a game. The Panthers are second in the NHL on the power play at 32 percent. They have eight power play goals in four games, last season it took them 27 games to get eight power play goals. The Capitals are tied for fifth on the power play at 25% and are tied for 24th on the penalty kill.
The Panthers have 12 new players this season and carry some former Capitals in forwards Matt Bradley and Tomas Fleischmann plus goalie Jose Theodore.
The Capitals haven’t played since their 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and start a tough stretch with the new lo0k Panthers tonight. The Caps play the Philadelphia Flyers on the road Thursday, Red Wings on Saturday, get a few days off, then hit the road for two west coast games against the Oilers and Canucks before they come home with little rest to host the Ducks.
Goalie Dany Sabourin was recalled from AHL Hershey today to back up Tomas Vokoun (3-0-0, 2.57 GAA, .922 Save pct.), who will start tonight for the Capitals. Michal Neuvirth is still out with a bruised foot he suffered in warm ups against the Lightning a little over a week ago and didn’t practice today, Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said he’s “day to day”. Boudreau said there was no update on Jay Beagle and didn’t know when he would be back. On John Erskine, he said “he is getting closer” to being cleared for contact.
DJ King will be the likely healthy scratch for the Caps tonight. The Capitals probable line up tonight is: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer, Semin-Johansson-Knuble, Chimera-Laich-Ward, Hendricks-Perreault-Halpern, Alzner-Carlson, Hamrlik-Green, Schultz-Wideman, Vokoun in goal.
For the Panthers, Jacob Markstrom is expected to start his first ever NHL game in goal. Markstrom has only played in one game, when he came in for Scott Clemmensen last year against the Devils, and in just under 40 minutes of ice time he stopped 12 of 14 shots. Markstrom is close friends with Nicklas Backstrom and they train together in the offseason.
Listen here to what Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and players Dennis Wideman, Mike Green & Jeff Halpern had to say about the Panthers after the morning skate today.
Bruce Boudreau Morning Skate Audio
Dennis Wideman Morning Skate Audio
Mike Green Morning Skate Audio
Jeff Halpern Morning Skate Audio