The Washington Capitals
’ season may be on the line Thursday when they meet the Winnipeg Jets
for the first of a pair of games at MTS Centre.
The Capitals (12-16-1) sit seven points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot and face a pair of nearly must-win games if they are to remain in contention. But a Washington blue line missing four regulars could regain Mike Green's services against Winnipeg. Green, who has missed 10 consecutive games with a groin injury, participated in the Capitals' morning skate, but Washington coach Adam Oates labeled him a "game-time decision."
Braden Holtby will make his third consecutive start in goal for the Capitals after a 36-save performance Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-1 loss that Oates termed "probably the best game all year."
Jets coach Claude Noel will start Ondrej Pavelec in goal for the eighth straight game.
Winnipeg (16-12-2) activated backup goaltender Al Montoya from injured reserve Thursday and returned netminder Edward Pasquale to St. John's of the American Hockey League. Defenseman Tobias Enstrom, out since Feb. 15 with a shoulder injury, appears to be nearing a return, but will not dress Thursday.
Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Jets for the game Thursday:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Brooks Laich - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Eric Fehr
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Joel Ward
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
Jeff Schultz - John Carlson
Jack Hillen - Dmitry Orlov
Scratched: Joey Crabb, Steve Oleksy, Aaron Volpatti, Wojtek Wolski
Injured: John Erskine (arm), Tomas Kundratek (knee)
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Olli Jokinen - Antti Miettinen
James Wright - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Eric Tangradi - Alexander Burmistrov - Chris Thorburn
Grant Clitsome - Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey - Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart - Derek Meech
Scratched: Patrice Cormier, Arturs Kulda, Paul Postma
Injured: Tobias Enstrom (shoulder), Anthony Peluso (hand), Zach Redmond (thigh), Jim Slater (hand)