Caps (24-13-7, 55 points) vs. Canucks (28-9-6, 62 points)
What » Game #45
Where » Verizon Center
When » 7 p.m.
TV » CSN HD
Radio » WFED-1500 AM
The best team in hockey is playing at Verizon Center tonight – but it won’t be rockin’ any red. Even after last night’s 1-0 loss at Madison Square Garden the Vancouver Canucks have the most points in the NHL. That poses a challenge for a Caps team that has stalled with an 0-1-2 record in its last three games. And it isn’t just the spectacular Sedin brothers, who have 55 points each.
“[On] their third line, Mikael Samuelsson had 30 goals last year. They’ve put together quite a team,” said Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “Let’s face it – they lost last night and didn’t get a point for the first time in 17 games, which is quite a feat. Because we did the same thing last year and we knew it was quite a feat. So they’re going to be a great opponent and we’ll see where we are.”
Defenseman Tyler Sloan has been sent to AHL Hershey for a conditioning stint. He hasn’t played since Dec. 26 against Carolina and has appeared in just two games since Thanksgiving. A groin injury early in the season hampered Sloan. The Caps might need him soon if Tom Poti’s chronic injury problem isn’t resolved. Boudreau said Poti will miss at least another week – but if it’s longer than that Washington needs a No. 7 defenseman to be ready. Poti is down again with what is officially labeled a lower-body injury.
Alex Semin is still recovering from a hit to the thigh during last Saturday’s game against Florida. He won’t play tonight and Sunday against Ottawa seems doubtful at this point. Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off the ice so expect him to get the start tonight. With Sloan gone and with another open roster spot, looks like Semin and Poti will be the only scratches. Injured forwards D.J. King and Matt Bradley (broken finger) were on the ice late.
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