The Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes will battle it out for the second time in a week, this time at the RBC Center. The Capitals are currently tied for first in the southeast division with the Florida Panthers with 52 points and the Winnipeg Jets sit in third only 3 points back. Washington has a great home record of 17-6-1, but have struggled on the road, posting a 8-12-1 record. This will be the Capitals’ third game in four nights, after getting shutout 3-0 by the New York Islanders on home ice on Tuesday, then shutting out the Montreal Canadians 3-0 at the Bell Center on Wednesday night. As a surprise to virtually no one, Niklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin are the top two scorers on the team with 42 and 36 points, respectively. After having an already injury plagued season, Mike Green was placed back on injured reserve with sports hernia surgery and will be out the next 4-6 weeks. Niklas Backstrom and Tom Poti will also not play. To read up even more on the Caps before tonight’s matchup, make sure to head over to Capitals Outsider.
As far as the Hurricanes go, the injury news continues to get a bit better day by day. Chad LaRose, who sustained a sprained shoulder in practice last week, practiced with the team in a yellow non-contact jersey this week. Jerome Samson, who also has an upper body injury, is listed as day-to-day. Joni Pitkanen and Brian Boucher are out indefinitely, with Boucher still on the injured reserve list. Jaroslav Spacek will also not play against the Capitals tonight after taking a puck to the face last week. They are coming off of two extremely close losses on the road, a 2-1 loss against the Capitals on Sunday night and a 2-1 shootout loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. Since Tuesday, the Canes sent down fourth line center Brett Sutter and recalled Zac Dalpe. During practice yesterday, Dalpe was playing on the second line along Jeff Skinner and Jussi Jokinen. Expect the lines for the game tonight to be as follows:
Tlusty – Staal – Ruutu
Jokinen – Skinner – Dalpe
Dwyer – Sutter – Nodl
Stewart – Brent – Ponikarovsky
Gleason – Allen
Harrison – Faulk
Joslin – McBain
The game will be on Fox Sports Carolinas or on the radio at 99.9FM The Fan, with puck drop at 7PM…or you can always head out to the RBC Center and pick up a Joni Pitkanen bobble head.
UPDATE: Chad LaRose is out of his non-contact jersey for practice today. He could be eligible to play tonight, but might wait to get a couple of contact practices in and come back tomorrow against the Islanders or on Monday at home against the Jets.
UPDATE 2: Chad LaRose will not play tonight, but he will travel with the team to Long Island tomorrow. Make sure to check back to see if he will be in the lineup!
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