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game preview

Panthers at Capitals preview

Luongo expected to start for Florida, would tie Roy for second in NHL history in games played; Washington seeks fourth win in five games

by Harvey Valentiine / Correspondent

PANTHERS (22-22-8) at CAPITALS (30-18-6)



The Game

Roberto Luongo is expected to start in net for the Florida Panthers at the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

Luongo would tie Patrick Roy (1,029 games/1,003 starts) for second in NHL history in games played by a goalie behind Martin Brodeur (1,266/1,251). The 39-year-old is two wins from tying Ed Belfour (484) for third in NHL history.

Florida is 5-2-0 in its past seven after a seven-game losing streak (0-5-2). The Panthers have allowed two goals or fewer in five of their past seven games. He is 21-12-3 against the Capitals with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

The Capitals are 3-1-0 in their past four games after a seven-game losing streak (0-5-2). They begin the day in second place in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the New York Islanders.


Players to watch

Panthers forward Frank Vatrano has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past seven games.

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past five games.


They said it

"They have scoring and offense. We have to maintain our game and play a simple game there." -- Panthers coach Bob Boughner

"It's important that we make their top defenseman work tonight. I think their guys…are clearly solid, good defenders and can hurt you on the offensive end if you don't make them go 200 feet. So, when we have opportunities, we have to put pucks behind them." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden


Panthers projected lineup

Frank Vatrano -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Vincent Trocheck -- Derick Brassard

Mike Hoffman -- Henrik Borgstrom -- Riley Sheahan

Troy Brouwer -- Denis Malgin -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad

Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk

Ian McCoshen -- Josh Brown

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: MacKenzie Weegar, Micheal Haley, Bogdan Kiselevich

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk (lower body), Derek MacKenzie (shoulder)


Capitals projected lineup

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

Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson

Andre Burakovsky -- Lars Eller -- Brett Connolly

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Nic Dowd -- Travis Boyd

Michal Kempny -- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik -- Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby

Pheonix Copley

Scratched: Chandler Stephenson, Madison Bowey, Devante Smith-Pelly

Injured: None


Status report

The Panthers did not skate Saturday. … Djoos returns after missing 24 games with an injured left thigh that required surgery, meaning that the Capitals will have their full lineup available for the first time this season.


Stat pack

Barkov has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past five games. … Holtby will play his 400th NHL game. Oshie has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past seven games. Kuznetsov has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past 10 games.

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