CAPITALS (11-2-3) at PANTHERS (7-3-4)
7 p.m. ET; FS-F, NBCSWA, NHL.TV
The Washington Capitals seek their fifth consecutive victory and ninth in 10 games when they visit the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Thursday.
The Capitals, with the best road mark in the NHL at 7-1-1, can win eight of their first 10 games of a season away from home for the third time in their history and first time since they were 8-2-0 in their first 10 road games in 2015-16; they also opened 8-2-0 on the road in 1991-92.
Forward Jakub Vrana has five goals in Washington's past two games, including a hat trick in a 4-2 victory against the Calgary Flames on Sunday, and nine points (six goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak.
Panthers forward Brett Connolly will face his former team for the first time since signing a four-year contract with Florida on July 1. Connolly has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 14 games with the Panthers.
Florida, which looks to win its third straight, is 5-1-1 in its past seven games.
Defenseman Mike Matheson will return after missing five games because of a lower-body injury.
Players to watch
Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in his past 13 games and 78 points (36 goals, 42 assists) in 63 games against Florida.
Panthers center Aleksander Barkov has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his past six games.
They said it
"So far this season, it seems like we've gotten better, taken a couple of steps back, got better, but we're still pushing in the right direction, and that's a good sign. I think it's going to be a big benefit in the long run, just to have more tools in your toolbox." -- Capitals goalie Braden Holtby
"[The Capitals] play the right way, they've got some pace to their game. We've got to play a perfect game tonight. It really is a good test for us." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville
Capitals projected lineup
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- Tom Wilson
Carl Hagelin -- Lars Eller -- Garnet Hathaway
Brendan Leipsic - Chandler Stephenson -- Travis Boyd
Michal Kempny -- John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov -- Radko Gudas
Jonas Siegenthaler -- Nick Jensen
Scratched: Tyler Lewington
Injured: Richard Panik (upper body), Nic Dowd (lower body)
Panthers projected lineup
Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov
Mike Hoffman -- Brian Boyle -- Brett Connolly
Frank Vatrano -- Denis Malgin -- Mark Pysyk
Dryden Hunt - Dominic Toninato -- Colton Sceviour
MacKenzie Weegar -- Aaron Ekblad
Mike Matheson -- Anton Stralman
Keith Yandle -- Josh Brown
Injured: Noel Acciari (lower body), Vincent Trocheck (lower body), Jayce Hawryluk (upper body)
Dowd will miss his third consecutive game but will take part in the pregame skate and would play if a need arises. … Acciari and Trocheck each is day to day. … Toninato was recalled from the Springfield of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and will make his Panthers debut in Acciari's spot on the fourth line. … Sceviour will play in his 400th NHL game.
Kempny has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past four games. … Huberdeau has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his past six games. … The Panthers have won the last four meetings, including a 3-0-0 record last season.