WASHINGTON -- Scott Walker was a Game 7 hero for Carolina last season. He'll get a chance to be one for Washington tonight.
Walker is making his playoff debut with the Capitals tonight against the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center. He's replacing Tomas Fleischmann, who had 23 goals and 51 points during the regular season but has been ineffective in this series with zero points and only eight shots on goal. Walker will start the game on the fourth line with Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley. Brendan Morrison is also getting back in the lineup for David Steckel.
Walker scored the overtime winner in Boston last season that sent the Hurricanes into the Eastern Conference Final. He sent a rebound of Ray Whitney's shot over Tim Thomas with 1:14 remaining in overtime to give the 'Canes a 3-2 win. It remains his only goal in 29 career playoff games.
"We know what he can do," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said prior revealing the lineup that had Walker in and Fleischmann as a scratch.
The Capitals acquired Walker at the trade deadline on March 3 in exchange for a seventh round draft pick. He played only nine games and contributed two goals and an assist over the last five and a half weeks of the season. He had five goals and three assists in a combined 42 games with the Hurricanes and Capitals this season.
"If I play then I'm excited," Walker said this morning from Kettler Capitals Iceplex before learning that he would be in the lineup. "I think the guys are excited for the challenge, that's for sure."
Fleischmann started this series as the Capitals' second line center. He had been dropped to the fourth line and was effectively benched in the third period of Game 5, when he finished with only 12 shifts totaling 7:26 of ice time, a season-low. He missed on a glorious chance early in the third period to score his first goal.
There was talk of him being made a healthy scratch for Game 6, but Fleischmann got bumped up to 19 shifts totaling 12:11 on Monday. He again missed on a great chance in the third period to score by shooting a loose puck right into the prone Jaroslav Halak.
Fleischmann has now played in 22 career playoff games and has all of four points.
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl