CAPITALS (19-6-2) at LIGHTNING (14-12-3)
TV: NHLN, CSN-DC, SUN
The Tampa Bay Lightning won't have forward Tyler Johnson in the lineup Saturday against the Washington Capitals after he re-aggravated a previous injury.
"We'll be lucky to see Johnson on the road trip," coach Jon Cooper told the Lightning website. Tampa Bay has games next week in Columbus, Toronto and Washington.
Johnson returned Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings after missing three straight games and six of the past 10 with an undisclosed injury, and the Lightning got forward Ondrej Palat back Thursday against the Ottawa Senators, allowing them to reunite the successful "Triplets Line" of a season ago with Johnson, Palat and Nikita Kucherov.
It turned out to be short-lived. Johnson, who had career highs of 29 goals and 72 points last season before leading the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 13 goals and tying for the scoring lead with 23 points, has four goals and 11 points in 23 games this season.
"We're probably going to have to err on the side of caution now, very similar to (Cedric) Paquette because we just can't have this back for one (game), gone for three, back for one, gone for four," Cooper said. "We've got to make sure these guys are ready to go. The players are trying as hard as they can to get back in. It's just unfortunate."
Tampa Bay recalled forward Mike Blunden from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Saturday. Cooper wasn't sure if Blunden would play or if the Lightning, who had an optional morning skate, would go with seven defensemen.
Ben Bishop is expected to start in goal for the Lightning against Braden Holtby of the Capitals. Bishop and Holtby each have a 1.95 goals-against average, tied for the NHL lead.
Washington wants to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The Capitals and Dallas Stars are the only teams left in the NHL that have not lost consecutive games this season.
"Just the team pride, I think we realize that you don't want anything to slide day," coach Barry Trotz told the Capitals website about how they've been able to bounce back from previous defeats. "If you have an off day -- not everybody's going to be perfect -- you want to come back with a good response. Our group has done a really good job of understanding that you can go the other way if you don't stop it right away, so they really put an emphasis on that."
Here are the projected lineups:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Stanislav Galiev
Andre Burakovsky - Brooks Laich - Tom Wilson
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney
Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body)
Scratched: Aaron Ness, Chris Brown, Michael Latta
Jonathan Drouin - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn
Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Nikita Kucherov
J.T. Brown - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan
Vladislav Namestnikov - Jonathan Marchessault
Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman
Matthew Carle - Jason Garrison
Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr
Injured: Erik Condra (lower body), Cedric Paquette (upper body), Tyler Johnson (undisclosed)
Scratched: Mike Blunden
Status report: Galiev and Burakovsky enter the lineup for the Capitals in place of Brown and Latta. Galiev is expected to see work on the second power-play unit.
Who's hot: Ovechkin has goals in consecutive games. Backstrom has two goals and six assists during a seven-game point streak. … Kucherov has scored two goals twice in the past three games. Brown has two multipoint games in his past three (one goal, three assists).