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Flames want to make life difficult for Capitals' Holtby

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

CAPITALS (3-1-2) at FLAMES (5-3-1)

TV: CBC, TVA2, CSN-DC

CALGARY -- A year ago to the day, the Calgary Flames were able to chase Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in a 5-2 win at Scotiabank Saddledome. They're hoping to do it again Saturday.

Holtby is expected to start his second consecutive game as the Capitals look to avoid an Alberta sweep against the Calgary Flames.

"It's a long time ago," said Holtby, who is one win shy of passing Jose Theodore for seventh on the Capitals all-time win list. "You kind of have to look at every game singularly, not based on the team you're playing against. It had a lot less to do with Calgary and a lot more to do with us and myself. It's going to happen against any team, every team, throughout your career. You just have to put it behind you and move forward."

Holtby hasn't found much in the way of success against the Flames recently. He was pulled in Washington's 5-4 shootout win Oct 3, 2013, Calgary's first game of the season. In all, the 25-year-old had a 12.41 goals-against average and .760 save percentage in 29:10 of work against Calgary last season.

Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner wasn't willing to hang the poor outings on his goaltender, though.

"I think those tough numbers, those tough games, were because of us, not necessarily because of him," Alzner said. "We didn't play good games at all and unfortunately he's the one ... the goalies are always the one that take the criticism most of the time. He's still going to play good. I know that. It's up to us to do a better job in front of him and not play 17 of the first 20 minutes in our zone like we have against these guys."

Flames forward Joe Colborne, who shares the NHL lead in assists with eight, is hoping Holtby has a vivid memory of those previous games.

"I think we're kind of just hoping he remembers it," Colborne said. "It kind of maybe gets into his head a little bit. For us they're all good goalies these days. You get a guy like [Jonas Hiller] who is playing on another level mentally and it's hard to get a guy off that.

"It can work the other way too, where mentally you can get a guy who for some reason you just might have a problem in the building. You can't pick up pucks or something. Hopefully he feels it a little bit. For us it's not really a big deal."

Here are the projected lineups:

CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Eric Fehr

Marcus Johansson - Andre Burakovsky - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Jay Beagle

Liam O'Brien - Michael Latta - Joel Ward

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Nate Schmidt - Mike Green

Braden Holtby

Justin Peters

Scratched: Jack Hillen, Chris Brown

Injured: Aaron Volpatti (neck), Dmitry Orlov (wrist), Brooks Laich (shoulder)

FLAMES

Jiri Hudler - Sean Monahan - Joe Colborne

Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - Paul Byron

Mason Raymond - Mikael Backlund - Johnny Gaudreau

Brandon Bollig - Lance Bouma - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland

Karri Ramo

Jonas Hiller

Scratched: Brian McGrattan, Raphael Diaz, Devin Setoguchi

Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Corey Potter (shoulder surgery), David Jones (lower body)

Status report: The Capitals are expected to use the same players they used Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers, but coach Barry Trotz has switched up his lines. ... Including Volpatti, Orlov and Laich, the Capitals have lost 25 man-games due to injury. …Calgary is expected to ice the same lineup from their 5-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. ... Jones could return as early as Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens. ... Setoguchi is expected to be a healthy scratch for the third straight game and fourth in the past five.

Who's hot: Burakovsky has two goals and six points in six games to start his NHL career with the Capitals. He had an assist Wednesday against the Oilers. … Wideman has goals in three straight games, four in his past five, and entered Saturday leading all NHL defensemen in goals with four.

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