The Caps were back at practice on Monday before heading out on a brief two-game road trip to Florida. They face the Panthers on Tuesday and then first-place Tampa Bay on Wednesday – finishing a stretch of four games in a row against Southeast Division opponents. And with a game looming Friday against Vancouver – the NHL’s best team at the moment – we’re looking at a pretty important stretch. The Caps lost in overtime to the Lighting last week and beat Florida, 3-2, on Saturday.

Forward Alex Semin won’t be making the trip after he took a hit to the thigh against the Panthers. No official word on his status long-term. Semin has hit the skids after scoring 18 goals by Nov. 28. He hasn’t scored one since with just five assists to his name during that stretch. Jay Beagle was playing right wing on the second line at practice, but we’ll see if that carries over to the game tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, Boyd Gordon, who hasn’t played since the Rangers game on Dec. 12, skated hard again and said he will at least make the trip. Teammate Eric Fehr then jokingly claimed it was just to serve as his personal valet. Gordon had a staph infection in his right foot and was extra cautious to keep the wound clean and avoid another complication.   

“We’ll talk on the way to Florida and see where [Gordon is] at,” Boudreau said.

As for the goalies, with a stretch of four games in six days it seems time for a Michal Neuvirth appearance. He hasn’t played since Dec. 26 after coming up lame during a morning skate before playing Carolina that night. Since then Semyon Varlamov has been dominant.

“I would think [Neuvirth] is going to get a game [in Florida],” Boudreau said.

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