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Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals: Lineups and Game Discussion

The Canes travel to Washington for first game of a home and home set.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If the Stanley Cup playoffs started today, the Carolina Hurricanes would qualify as the top wild card team in the Eastern Conference. Their first-round opponent would be the Washington Capitals.

As fate would have it, the Canes and Caps will play a home-and-home set over the next three days in a potential playoff series dress rehearsal.

This is the third meeting of the season, with the two prior meetings won by the Capitals. The first meeting was a December 14th game in Raleigh which ended in a 6-5 shootout loss for the Canes. Sebastian Aho recorded 2 goals and 2 assists. The second meeting in Washington on December 27th resulted in a 3-1 loss with Aho providing the Canes’ only goal. Including the games this season, Aho has tallied 16 points in 10 games against the Caps during his three years with the Canes.

The Canes’ lineup should remain steady coming off the 4-1 homestand that ended with Andrei Svechnikov’s OT winner on Sunday night. Speaking of Svechnikov, the rookie celebrates his 19th birthday today. He’s played well since being promoted to the 2nd line and is currently riding a three game point streak (2g, 1a). Petr Mrazek will get the start in net as he seeks his 99th career win.

Also, remember that NBCSN (and specifically John Forslund and A.J. Mleszko) will have tonight’s television broadcast. Mike Maniscalco and Tripp Tracy will handle things on the radio side.

Below is the Canes’ projected lineup:

Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Justin Williams
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Teuvo Teravainen
Micheal Ferland - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Saku Maenalanen - Greg McKegg - Brock McGinn

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk

Petr Mrazek
Curtis McElhinney

Scratches: Warren Foegele (healthy)

The Washington Capitals lead the Metro Division with 96 points. However, that lead is razor-thin. Both the New York Islanders (95) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (95) trail by a single point, while the Canes (89) remain close enough for alarm. The Caps need all the points possible to secure another division title and home-ice in the playoffs. Expect all their stars to log heavy minutes while Braden Holtby mans the net.

Here’s how Washington will line up tonight:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Carl Hagelin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Andre Burakovsky - Nic Dowd - Travis Boyd

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Nick Jensen

Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley

Scratches: Dmitrij Jaskin (healthy), Tyler Lewington (healthy)