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At the Rink blog

Ovechkin set for Winnipeg debut

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 2:34 PM

By Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

WINNIPEG – The Washington Capitals arrived Wednesday in Winnipeg fresh off a frustrating late 3-1 loss at Nashville the night before.

A pair of Nashville goals late in the third period undid what had been a very solid effort for the Capitals, who will conclude this three-game journey Saturday night at Toronto. A Capitals win tonight would give coach Bruce Boudreau his 200th NHL coaching victory.

Much of the focus in Winnipeg on Thursday morning surrounded Alex Ovechkin, who leads the Capitals with seven goals this season and will be making his NHL debut on Winnipeg ice.

“So-so,” Ovechkin answered when asked to describe the start to his season. “I’m thinking all the time what I have to do differently.”

But 20 of the 23 skaters who have dressed for the Capitals this season have recorded at least one point, and 17 different Capitals have scored a goal. However, despite that balanced scoring, the Capitals have sagged since a franchise-best 7-0-0 start to the season and have gone just 3-5-1 since that opening burst.

Washington will be without sidelined defenseman Mike Green, who remains back in Washington. Jay Beagle will miss his 16th game tonight stemming from a concussion after a fight with Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham.

Here is the projected lineup for Washington tonight:

Troy BrouwerNicklas BackstromAlex Ovechkin
Jason ChimeraBrooks LaichAlexander Semin
Cody EakinMarcus JohanssonJoel Ward
Matt HendricksJeff HalpernMike Knuble

Roman HamrlikKarl Alzner
John ErskineDennis Wideman
Jeff SchultzJohn Carlson

Michal Neuvirth will start for the Capitals, with Tomas Vokoun serving as back-up.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round