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.