The Washington Capitals are used to life without Brooks Laich and before Martin Erat, one positive for Sunday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Laich and Erat are out, meaning Eric Fehr reprises his role as a top-six forward and Aaron Volpatti gets back into the lineup.
“Fehrsie’s back. He was playing good, so he’s gonna jump up there and just everybody, keep moving along just like everybody has to,” coach Adam Oates said.
Fehr will retake his spot as the second-line left wing alongside Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer. Volpatti slides in on the fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle. Wojtek Wolski is the healthy-scratch forward.
Michal Neuvirth is making just his third start in the Caps’ past 26 games.
“Hopefully he has a good game for us,” Oate said. “That’s all we’re asking. You know, we’ve talked all along – you’re going to need both your goalies. It’s just a fact. We need him to play.”
Ben Bishop gets the nod in goal for the Lightning, his third start in four days since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators.
No matter what happens, the Caps will wake up Monday morning in first place in the Southeast Division. This is one of their games in hand on the second-place Winnipeg Jets.
“We are in a decent situation right now,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “It’s nice that we have an opportunity to kind of hold our own fate. We have to win a game like tonight.”
Here’s a look at the Caps’ lineup:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti - Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
Jack Hillen - John Carlson
John Erskine - Steve Oleksy