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At the Rink: Capitals at Panthers

by Staff

Washington Capitals forward Chris Brown will make his season debut Thursday against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-F), and his father will be there to see it.

Actually, Brown's father being at the game is the reason 24-year-old forward will be in the lineup.

According to the Washington Post, Trotz has a policy that if a player's father is on the Capitals' dads' trip, than that player gets in the lineup.

"As I said [to Brown], 'I want you to go in there and make sure I can trust you as a player. Go for it. Your dad's here. Good luck. Get at it,'" Trotz told the Post.

Brown had one goal in five games for the Capitals (19-5-2) last season. He missed the first month of this season because of a hand injury; his only game action prior to Thursday were five games with Hershey of the American Hockey League.

"You don't know when that opportunity is going to come," Trotz said. "It's coming today for him and he's got to show me what he's got."

Brown said he isn't worrying too much about what happens against the Panthers.

"I wouldn't say it's too much of a pressure moment," Brown said. "I'd say it's more of a, 'Get in and go play.' I've been practicing a couple weeks now and kind of jumping in and out of lines, so I've kind of got to take it in stride and do what I can to help the team."

The Panthers (13-11-4) have lost two straight games but coach Gerard Gallant said some of what he saw in a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday gave him confidence going against the Capitals.

"When we're playing our game like we did against Ottawa two nights ago for two periods, I like the way we play," he told the Panthers website. "We're playing hard and working hard and competing. When we're working hard and competing we're as good as anybody."

Here are the projected lineups:


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Tom Wilson - Jay Beagle

Brooks Laich - Michael Latta - Chris Brown

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Philipp Grubauer

Braden Holtby

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)

Scratched: Andre Burakovsky, Stanislav Galiev, Aaron Ness


Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Jaromir Jagr

Brandon Pirri - Vincent Trocheck - Reilly Smith

Quinton Howden - Derek MacKenzie - Jussi Jokinen

Connor Brickley - Dave Bolland - Logan Shaw

Willie Mitchell - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

Steven Kampfer - Aaron Ekblad

Al Montoya

Roberto Luongo

Injured: Nick Bjugstad (upper body), Alex Petrovic (lower body)

Scratched:?????????Shawn Thornton

Status report: Montoya will start for the first time since Dec. 4, and sixth time this season. … Grubauer will play for the first time in nine games.

Who's hot: Backstrom has two goals and five assists during a six-game point streak. … Jagr has 90 points in 78 games against the Capitals. He needs one goal to tie Marcel Dionne for fourth all-time.

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