WASHINGTON -- Michal Neuvirth
is expected to make his second straight start tonight when the Washington Capitals
host the San Jose Sharks
at Verizon Center (NBC Sports Network at 7:30).
With Tomas Vokoun
suffering from the flu, Neuvirth was a last-minute addition to the Caps' starting lineup in yesterday's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers
Vokoun did not take part in Washington's optional skate this morning and Neuvirth (6-9-3, 3.07 goals-against average, .894 save percentage) told NHL.com he expects to start against San Jose. Coach Dale Hunter
said that Vokoun remains a game-time decision and that there was no immediate plan for any call-ups.
"[Neuvirth] is a young guy," Hunter said, "and he wants to play as many games as he can. If he gets in tonight, he'll be ready to play."
remained on the ice for extra work following Washington's optional skate and will likely be a healthy scratch for the third straight game.
The Caps enter tonight's game four points behind the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers
and one point behind the eighth place Toronto Maple Leafs
This will be the Capitals' final home game before embarking on a four-game road trip. Washington is tops in the Eastern Conference with a 19-7-2 record at home, but 14th in the conference on the road at 9-15-3.
The Sharks will be playing their second game in as many nights after falling 3-0 last night in St. Louis. San Jose allowed a pair of 5-on-3 power-play goals and a late goal on an empty net as it fell for the third time in four games.
Last night's loss also ended San Jose's streak of scoring at least one power-play goal in five straight games. The Sharks' power play enters tonight's game ranked fourth in the NHL at 20 percent.
"The message is going to be to stay out of the penalty box," Caps forward Matt Hendricks
said. "Don't give these guys opportunities. If you need to take penalties, then you need to take penalties, but let's not be taking lazy penalties 200 feet from our end. I think that's probably going to be the message, and if they do get their opportunities, we have to do everything we can to shut them down -- blocking shots and getting pucks all the way down."
The Pacific Division-leading Sharks visit one point clear of second place Los Angeles, although San Jose has played four fewer games.
(7-4-1, 1.98 GAA, .925 save percentage) will make a rare start for the Sharks, who are playing the second game of their season-long nine-game, 16-day road trip.
Here are the Capitals' and Sharks' projected lineups for tonight's nationally televised game at Verizon Center:
- Marcus Johansson
- Troy Brouwer
- Mathieu Perreault
- Alexander Semin
- Brooks Laich
- Joel Ward
- Jeff Halpern
- Jay Beagle
- John Carlson
- Roman Hamrlik
- Dennis Wideman
Ryan Clowe - Logan Couture
- Benn Ferriero
- Joe Thornton
- Joe Pavelski
- Michal Handzus
- Torrey Mitchell
- Andrew Desjardins
- John McCarthy
- Dan Boyle
- Brent Burns
- Justin Braun