The Capitals have three healthy goaltenders, Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth and Philipp Grubauer, leaving coach Adam Oates to make a judgment call. Grubauer, who played in four straight prior to Washington's loss Tuesday night to the Philadelphia Flyers, will get the start in net against Carolina.
"Grubauer has been good," Oates said. "We've got three goalies, so we have to make some decisions. We've played Carolina twice and didn't have the best results, so we will change it up a little bit and put a fresh guy in there."
Carolina coach Kirk Muller also had to sort out his goaltending picture. Justin Peters earned a 4-1 win when the teams met Dec. 3 in Washington, and he has two shutouts and a 1.67 goals-against average in seven games against the Capitals. But after consecutive starts by Peters, Muller will go back to Cam Ward against Washington.
"Just going on a gut feeling," Muller said. "Cam had a good five days to really focus on his game, and he's a leader of this group. Tonight's a big game where you look to your veteran guys to have big games. We want to show we have confidence in him and give him the opportunity to start."
The Hurricanes lost to Edmonton 5-4 in overtime in Ward's last start. Since his November return from a knee injury, he has allowed at least three goals in seven of his eight starts.
Here are the projected lineups: