Saturday featured the most complete game and victory of the season for the Washington Capitals, so it’s no surprise that the same lineup will very likely take the ice Tuesday at the Florida Panthers.
That means Braden Holtby back in net after a 27-save shutout of the Panthers at Verizon Center and the same lines. With the Caps playing just three games in the next nine days, this could be Holtby’s chance to take a stranglehold on the starting job in the competition with Michal Neuvirth.
“Him and Neuvy have been going back and forth trying to battle for the No. 1 and as a player on the team that’s a good thing,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “You want two competitive goalies against each other, working toward the same goal obviously, but trying to get that solidified No. 1 at the same time.”
Judging from Monday’s practice, Adam Oates will roll out the same lines, including Jason Chimera skating with Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin. Even though Chimera is without a goal through the first 12 games, he has earned praise from the coach.
“Obviously his speed is very important, he’s a big guy and there’s going to be times where it’s his turn to go be the first forechecker, knock them off the puck and let Mike and Alex come in second,” Oates said. “To me, a line is supposed to be versatile like that where every guy’s got to do his job.”
Eric Fehr, Mathieu Perreault and Joel Ward did their job Saturday night, and they’ll stick together as the third line.
Here’s the expected Caps lineup for Tuesday night’s game in Sunrise, Fla.:
Wojtek Wolski – Nicklas Backstrom – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Mike Ribeiro – Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr – Mathieu Perreault – Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks – Jay Beagle – Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Tomas Kundratek
Goalie: Braden Holtby