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Pregame primer: 'We want to see how good we can be'


Pregame primer: 'We want to see how good we can be'

News, notes and quotes as the Capitals (7-2-0, 14 points) make their first visit of the season to BB&T Center to face the Florida Panthers (5-4-1, 11 points) tonight at 7 p.m. on CSN-plus:

Where the Caps stand: The Caps are coming off Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, which came two nights after a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. “One of our goals this season,” Caps right wing Justin Williams said, “is to not lose back-to-back games. Good teams don't lose two in a row. We want to see how good we can be this year. You certainly have to take care of your home ice, which we need to get a little better at, but certainly don't go on these lulls and lose two, three, four in a row." The Caps are second in the Metropolitan Division standings, two points behind the Rangers (7-2-2). The Caps are 11-0-2 in their last 13 games against the Panthers and are 21-4-3 against them since the 2009-10 season.

Where the Panthers stand: Florida is coming off a 3-1 home loss to the Bruins on Friday night, which snapped a two-game win streak. The Panthers have lost four of their last six games after a 3-1-0 start. They sit fifth in the Atlantic Division, 9 points behind the Montreal Canadiens.

Who’s in goal: For the Caps, Philipp Grubauer (1-0-0, 4.00 GAA, .826 SP) is expected to make his second start of the season. He has faced the Panthers one other time in his career and is 0-0-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .951 SP. Since Roberto Luongo was between the pipes against the Bruins, look for backup Al Montoya (2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .948 SP) to get the call. In four career starts against the Caps Montoya is 0-2-1 with a 2.73 GAA and .886 SP.

Where’s the mullet?: Jaromir Jagr sat out Friday night’s loss to the Bruins with a lower body injury but could play against his former team tonight. In nine games he leads the Panthers with six goals and four assists. The 43-year-old Czech now has 728 goals and 1,812 points in 1,559 career games. And, at the request of Luongo, he’s growing back his famous mullet.

Isn’t that special: The Caps have killed off 10 straight shorthanded situations and rank ninth in the NHL at 86.7 percent. Despite going 0-for-2 against Columbus they rank fourth in the NHL on the man-advantage at 25.9 percent. The Panthers rank fifth on the PP (25.6) and 24th (76.2) on the PK.

Barkov out: Top-line center Aleksander Barkov (hand) will not play tonight and will be replaced by Nick Bjugstad. The Panthers might also be without defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who broke his nose when he went face first into the boards Friday night. He has not been ruled out for tonight.

Third period dominance: Both teams have had strong third periods this season, with the Caps outscoring opponents 14-9 and the Panthers holding a 14-8 edge.

Trick or Treat: The Capitals last played on Halloween in 2003 when they defeated the Atlanta Thrashers 2-1 at home. Caps goaltender Olie Kolzig stopped 19 of 20 shots in the win.

What’s next: Following tonight’s game the Caps will remain in Southern Florida for two days, then fly to New York for Tuesday night’s showdown against the Rangers. The Panthers will pack their bags for California, where they’ll visit the Ducks, Sharks and Kings.

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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital


Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:


Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.

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Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.


The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.