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At the Rink blog

Neuvirth in net for offensively-struggling Capitals

Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 3:20 PM

By Ben Raby - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

WASHINGTON -- Mike Knuble will skate in his 1,000th career game Tuesday night when the Washington Capitals play host to the Nashville Predators at Verizon Center.

The Capitals will honor Knuble prior to the opening faceoff and all Caps players will wear jerseys with the No.22 in warmups. The jerseys will later be auctioned off for charity.

“I didn’t really know that until I was on Twitter last night,” Knuble said of his teammates plan to sport his jersey number. “I saw it on Twitter … I know my wife has been up to things behind the scenes a little bit so you just roll with what happens. I think that’s very nice. It’s a great chance to play this game in Washington as a Capital. I’m very happy with that and it will be flattering when you see the guys on the ice.”

Knuble has scored at least 20 goals in eight straight seasons – a streak that could come to an end in April. Through 31 games this season, Knuble has three goals and nine points while skating primarily on Washington’s fourth line.

While Knuble’s offensive numbers may be down, he expects to have an extra jump in his step tonight with plenty of friends and family taking in game No. 1,000.

“It’s a fun day, just try to enjoy the day,” Knuble said. “There’s still a game to play and I guess there will be some talk and fun before the game, but once the puck drops the game is on and you move on. Tomorrow I anticipate waking up and everything [will be] back to normal but today is a fun day and it’s a day you should enjoy as a player.”

The Predators enter play Tuesday having won seven of 10 games and five straight overall. Their last 10 games have also all been decided by one goal.

The Capitals are 4-5-0 since Dale Hunter took over as coach Nov. 28, but continue to struggle offensively. Washington has scored just once in each of its last three games.

Michal Neuvirth is expected to make his third straight start for the Caps, while backup Anders Lindback gets the nod for Nashville.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

CAPITALS

Alex OvechkinBrooks LaichTroy Brouwer
Marcus JohanssonNicklas BackstromAlexander Semin
Jason ChimeraBrooks LaichJoel Ward
Matt HendricksMathieu PerreaultMike Knuble

Karl AlznerJohn Carlson
John ErskineDennis Wideman
Dmitry OrlovRoman Hamrlik

Michal Neuvirth
Tomas Vokoun

PREDATORS

Martin EratDavid LegwandCraig Smith
Sergei KostitsynMike FisherPatric Hornqvist
Colin WilsonNick SpalingJordin Tootoo
Matt HalischukBlake GeoffrionJerred Smithson

Ryan SuterShea Weber
Francis Bouillon – Jonathan Blum
Jack HillenRoman Josi

Anders Lindback
Pekka Rinne

I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday