The Dallas Stars (10-3-0, 20 points) head to Verizon Center to play the Washington Capitals (9-3-0, 18 points) for a 7pm face off tonight. The Capitals come off a 5-3 loss to the Islanders on Saturday, but the Caps are 6-0 at home to start a season for the first time in franchise history.
The Capitals have been getting offensive output all up and down the line up this season with 20 of 23 players who have played in a game for the Caps have at least a point this season. The Caps rank second in the NHL with 3.92 goals per game and are fourth in the NHL on the power play this season.
Michal Neuvirth (2-1-0, 2.96 GAA, .902 Save pct.) will be in goal for the Capitals, while Mathieu Perreault and Mike Green look to be the scratches tonight. Green, who will miss his sixth game tonight, is making progress with an injured right ankle and skated extra once again today, Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said following practice that “right now it is” that this weekend is a possibility for Green to return. Jay Beagle, who hasn’t played since October 13th due to a concussion, skated by himself before practice and Boudreau said the plan is for him to continue to skate by himself the next few days.
Caps defenseman and former Dallas Star, John Erskine, will be playing in his 400th game tonight and likely will be paired up with Dennis Wideman. The line up tonight could look like this for the Capitals: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer, Eakin-Johansson-Semin, Chimera-Laich-Ward, Hendricks-Halpern-Knuble, Hamrlik-Carlson, Schultz-Alzner, Erskine-Wideman and Neuvirth in goal.
The Dallas Stars are one of the big surprises of the NHL season after losing their best player, Brad Richards, to free agency and trading away one of their top players, James Neal, last season. Former Hershey Bears defenseman Sheldon Souray has been tearing it up for the Stars with four goals and eight assists in13 games this season.
Kari Lehtonen (10-1-0, 2.14 GAA, .936 Save pct.) is likely in goal tonight for the Dallas Stars. Lehtonen has started 18 games against the Capitals in his career and is 10-6-0-2 with a 2.80 GAA and a .919 Save pct. with a shutout against the Capitals. Lehtonen had the majority of his starts against the Capitals when he played five seasons for the Atlanta Thrashers.
Listen here to what Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin, Dennis Wideman, Joel Ward and Cody Eakin had to say following the morning skate today.
Bruce Boudreau Morning Skate Audio
Alex Ovechkin Morning Skate Audio
Dennis Wideman Morning Skate Audio
Joel Ward Morning Skate Audio
Cody Eakin Morning Skate Audio