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Preview: Panthers at Capitals

Washington focused on positives heading to playoffs; goaltender James Reimer to start in finale for Florida

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

PANTHERS (34-36-11) at CAPITALS (55-18-8)

7 p.m. ET; FS-F, CSN-DC, NHL.TV 

 

Panthers team scope

Florida Panthers goaltender James Reimer will start their final game of the season. The Panthers defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-0 in their home finale on Saturday to end a six-game losing streak; Reimer made 30 saves. "It was nice to give something to our fans," forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who scored two goals Saturday, told the Miami Herald. "It was nice to see a lot of people in the stands for our last game. We wanted to show them that we're going to have a good summer and be ready to go next year." Florida could play with eight defensemen if forward Michael Sgarbossa, who sustained a lower-body injury in the second period against Buffalo and did not return, is unable to play. Forward Shawn Thornton played his last game for the Panthers on Saturday before his retirement and did not travel to Washington.

 

Capitals team scope

The Washington Capitals have clinched the Presidents' Trophy, the first seed in the Eastern Conference and the Metropolitan Division title, but they are still approaching their last regular-season game as a meaningful one. "Well, I think we do [have something to play for]," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said Saturday. "We have a [playoff] game later on in the week that we have to get ready for. We don't want to have any sort of bad feeling in our locker room going into our first playoff game. So we want to make sure that we're approaching that like it's a meaningful game, like there is something at stake. It can be hard at times for sure, but we don't expect [the Panthers] to just roll over and give us a win." Washington has won four straight and is 11-1-1 in its past 13 games. Goaltender Braden Holtby will start a day after backup Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves in a 3-1 win against the Boston Bruins. Holtby and Grubauer will win the William M. Jennings Award, given to the goalies of the NHL team with the fewest goals allowed; Holtby and Grubauer have allowed a combined 168 goals this season.

 
Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Vincent Trocheck -- Jaromir Jagr

Thomas Vanek -- Nick Bjugstad -- Jonathan Marchessault

Reilly Smith -- Denis Malgin -- Colton Sceviour

Derek MacKenzie

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

Ian McCoshen -- Mark Pysyk

Jakub Kindl -- MacKenzie Weegar

James Reimer

Sam Brittain

Scratched: Reto Berra, Shawn Thornton

Injured: Roberto Luongo (hip), Aaron Ekblad (neck), Aleksander Barkov (upper body), Jussi Jokinen (undisclosed), Michael Sgarbossa (lower body)

 

Capitals projected lineup

Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Justin Williams

Paul Carey -- Lars Eller -- Andre Burakovsky

Daniel Winnik -- Jay Beagle -- Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner -- Nate Schmidt

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Taylor Chorney -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Brooks Orpik

Injured: John Carlson (lower body), Brett Connolly (illness)

 

Status report

Florida recalled goaltender Sam Brittain from San Antonio of the American Hockey League to back up Reimer on Sunday. Regular backup Reto Berra did not travel with the team to Washington because of a personal issue. … Washington recalled forwards Chandler Stephenson and Garrett Mitchell from Hershey of the AHL on Sunday. Mitchell could make his NHL debut if the Capitals decide to rest any regulars.

 

Who's hot

Huberdeau has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past nine games. … Marchessault has eight points (seven goals, one assist) in his past nine games. …  Huberdeau has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine games. … Jagr has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past six games. … Backstrom has 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in his past 14 games. … Johansson has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in his past nine games. … Oshie has 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in his past 11 games. … Ovechkin has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past eight games.

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