PANTHERS (3-8-2) at CAPITALS (5-7-0)
TV: CSN-DC, FS-F
Last 10: Florida 2-6-2; Washington 5-5-0
Season series: This is the first of three games between the teams, who find themselves in different divisions for the first time since the Southeast Division was created in 1998-99. The Washington Capitals swept the four meetings last season and have won seven in a row dating to 2011-12. Washington has won the past seven at Verizon Center, outscoring the Florida Panthers 31-7 with three shutouts.
Big story: After defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 Friday without Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals again will not have their captain in the lineup. Ovechkin, who is tied for second in the NHL with 10 goals, sustained an upper-body injury Monday against the Vancouver Canucks.
Panthers: Florida coach Kevin Dineen hinted Friday he might make some changes to his lineup after watching his team lose for the seventh time in eight games and get shut out for the third time this season.
"We are going to examine all our options right now," Dineen said after a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues. "We've got options we can take advantage of. We're at the point now that it's not about skill for this group, it's about us trying to find the guys that are going to give us the best effort. That's what we'll do in [Washington], put guys out on the ice that will just go out and work as hard as they can for that Panthers logo on the front of the jersey."
The Panthers begin a stretch of nine of 11 games on the road after wrapping up their season-long six-game homestand 1-3-2.
Florida was shut out 7-0 at St. Louis on Oct. 5 and 3-0 at home against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 13.
Capitals: With Ovechkin out, Joel Ward scored his first career hat trick, and Nicklas Backstrom had two goals against the Flyers. It was the Capitals' largest margin of victory against the Flyers since entering the NHL in 1974 and matched the Flyers' largest shutout loss since 1994.
Braden Holtby made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season, eighth of his career.
"I thought we were outstanding," Holtby said. "Obviously, some goals went in, but I thought our whole game was great. I thought the Flyers played a better game than a 7-0 game, and this shows how well we played. I thought this was our best effort of the year."
Washington is on home ice after ending a five-game road trip 3-2-0 and winning for the first time this season in a game when Ovechkin didn't score.
Who's hot: No Panthers player has more than two points in the past four games. .. The Capitals line of Jason Chimera, Mikhail Grabovski and Ward has combined for nine goals and 11 assists in the past four games.
Injury report: Panthers goalie Tim Thomas (lower body) remains on injured reserve, along with defenseman Ed Jovanovski (hip) and forward Steve Pinizzotto (lower body). … The Capitals played Friday without defensemen John Erskine (upper body) and Jack Hillen (leg).
|Back to top|