Washington Capitals (3-1-0-6, 2nd SE) v. Nashville Predators (3-0-0-6, 1st CNT)
8:00 pm EST, Sommet Center, Nashville
Despite all the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth in the Nation's Capital about the ineffective power play, the Washington Capitals travel to Nashville with a 3-1 record, courtesy of three straight home wins last week after an opening night loss to Atlanta. There, they will meet a rookie goalie that has led his upstart teammates to a perfect start to the 2010-2011 season.
The Predators are off to their best start since 2005-2006 when the Preds won their first eight games. Much of the credit goes to Anders Lindback, a rookie goalie that has stopped 62-of-67 shots thus far, taking over for injured Pekka Rinne in the third period of the season opener. Rinne is struggling with a back injury.
With the puck, Nashville isn't blessed with an array of talented goal scorers, but veteran Steve Sullivan has four goals in his first three contests. The Preds are missing RW Martin Erat and centers Matthew Lombardi and Jamie Lundmark.
The Capitals lead the NHL in scoring through the first week of the season and have yet to allow a power play goal, though they are 2-for-17 on their own power play.
The Caps will be a very important man down tonight, as D Mike Green, who leads the team in minutes played, will miss with an "upper body injury", believed to be a strained shoulder. Neither RW Matt Bradley nor D Tom Poti are ready to return either, and with the Caps two defensemen down they were forced to recall Brian Fahey from AHL Hershey.
Michal Neuvirth will make his fifth straight start in goal. Semyon Varlamov was activated and will back up. Dany Sabourin cleared waivers and was assigned to AHL Hershey.
NSH: Steve Sullivan (4-1-5, +2), Cal O'Reilly (0-4-4, +3), Anders Lindback (2-0-0, 2.19, .925)
WAS: Alex Ovechkin (4-3-7, +3), John Carlson (1-4-5, even), Michal Neuvirth (3-1-0, 2.22, .924)
NSH: G Pekke Rinne (Q-back), RW Martin Erat (Q-back), C Matthew Lombardi (Out-back), C Jamie Lundmark (Out-groin)
WAS: D Mike Green (Out-shoulder), RW Matt Bradley (Out-LBI), D Tom Poti (Out-LBI)