The Washington Capitals will have quite a few things on their mind in Sunrise on Tuesday, as they not only seek revenge from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs but also look to put the worst showing of the season behind them against the Florida Panthers.
Washington (7-8-2, 16 points) is 3-5-2 in its last 10 games and will face a Florida team (8-6-1, 17 points) that is seeing its own share of struggles with two straight losses and a 4-5-1 record in its last 10. Both clubs look much different than the last time they met in May. With a win, the Capitals can leapfrog the Panthers in the standings and get leverage in the Wild Card race.
Following a tough go-of-it on Sunday, Washington changed some things on Monday, making a notable change to the top line. Taking that into account and the fact that Nicolas Aube-Kubel still has two games left to serve of a three-game suspension, here are the lines:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Sonny Milano
Marcus Johansson-Dylan Strome-Conor Sheary
Joe Snively-Lars Eller-Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-John Carlson
Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Matt Irwin
Dmitry Orlov did not skate on Monday, which is perhaps an indicator of his status for Tuesday’s tilt. He is on the IR and has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. The team is still dealing with a myriad of injuries and absences with Nicolas Aube-Kubel serving the final two games of a three-game suspension. Head Peter Laviolette is out of COVID-19 protocol and will coach.
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Per Mike Vogel, Darcy Kuemper will return to the net after being pulled on Sunday.
When it comes to who to watch, look out for Conor Sheary, who has goals in back-to-back games. Evgeny Kuznetsov also has six points in his last four games and points in three of his last four. His line with Alex Ovechkin and Sonny Milano will also be fun to keep an eye on. In 68 career games against Florida, Ovechkin has 43 goals and 45 assists for 88 points.
On the Panthers’ side, Sergei Bobrovsky will start. New addition Matthew Tkachuk has made a major impact with 17 points in 13 games, including four points in his last three games overall. Defenseman Brandon Montour has been great as well with seven assists in his last three games. Also monitor Carter Verhaeghe, who has points in four of his last five games, and of course, the always-dangerous Aleksander Barkov.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. The game will be live on NBC Sports Washington.