The league leading Washington Capitals, (47-14-9) are in town to take on the Carolina Hurricanes, (28-33-8) in a Southeast Division matchup tonight at the RBC. The Caps will be without the services of their captain and leading scorer, Alex Ovechkin, who is serving the second game of his two game suspension for pushing Brian Campbell from behind.
The Canes will be without Tim Gleason, the heart and soul of their blueline. Gleason has a broken bone in his foot and while he tried to play through the pain against Boston, the team finally decided it was time for him to get off the ice and let it heal.
He is expected to be out 2-3 weeks.
Newly recalled Jamie McBain will fill in. I spoke with McBain after the morning skate and he is ready for the opportunity. When asked how his development was progressing as a pro, he was quick to praise the Albany coaching staff.
"My stick work, positioning, and awareness has improved. I owe a lot to coach Daniels and to Geordie Kinnear at Albany for working with me."
After a bit of a slow start, McBain has been one of the top scoring defensemen in the AHL in recent weeks. Maurice said that the rookie will probably stay in town while Gleason is unable to skate.
Caniacs had a first hand view of his slapshot from the point against Boston, when his shot helped to create the rebound chance for Erik Cole's first goal..
Zach Boychuk will return to action. The Canes currently have their lines listed as the following:
- Staal, Cole, Whitney
- Sutter, Ruutu, Jokinen
- Dwyer, Samsonov, LaRose
- Brind'Amour, Kostopoulos, Boychuk
Maurice said that he would be mixing the defensive pairings throughout the game.
Speaking of injuries, Cam Ward is working very hard and is expected to return to the ice with full gear next week. He will be able to take some shots and team officials will monitor his progress at that time.
The Canes have dropped three of four games against the Caps so far this year. While the visitors might seem weakened by the loss of Ovechkin, don't be fooled. They totally dominated Florida on Tuesday night, (7-3), and have an excellent record in previous games without their captain this season.
"It's just an opportunity for some of their other star players to get more ice time," Paul Maurice said when asked about the loss of Ovechkin.
Young Justin Peters will face Semyon Varlamov in net.
|2009 - Justin Peters||6||358||4||2||14||2.35||182||168||.923||0|
|2009 - Semyon Varlamov||20||1167||13||3||50||2.57||559||509||.911||2|
The game will be another huge test for the rookie and management will be watching closely.
Of course, this is a homecoming of sorts for Joe Corvo and Scott Walker. In general, ex-Canes love to score against their old team. Will the tradition continue?. Japers' Rink will have more lowdown on the Caps.
FS Carolinas has the telecast starting at 7. We will have the open thread cranked up here at 6:30.