Oct. 7 vs. Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center
Time: 7:00 pm
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: SportsTalk 980
Carolina Hurricanes (0-1-1)
Washington Capitals (0-1-0)
Game Notes in PDF Format
The Washington Capitals will host opening night at Verizon Center on Saturday night when the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes make the first of four visits to Washington this season.
The Caps played their Southeast Division rivals even last season, going 3-3-2 in eight meetings against Carolina. The Caps were 1-2-1 in four games played between the two teams in Washington in 2005-06.
Saturday?s game pits a pair of teams seeking their first win of 2006-07. The Caps dropped an opening night decision to the New York Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, falling by a 5-2 score. Alexander Semin and Rico Fata scored for Washington. The Caps have not lost the season?s first two games since 1996-97.
Just one game into the ?06-07 season, the Capitals have already been beset by a series of minor injuries. Four Washington forwards ? wingers Matt Pettinger and Matt Bradley and centers Brooks Laich and Boyd Gordon ? did not take the ice for Friday?s practice session at Verizon Center. The Caps were able to dress only 10 healthy forwards for Friday?s practice. If some of the walking wounded are not healthy enough to take the ice on Saturday night, the Caps will recall a player or two from AHL Hershey.
The Caps dressed seven defensemen for the season opener in New York. Washington has eight healthy blueliners on its roster, so it could conceivably get by with a single recall even if none of the aforementioned four injured players is able to answer the bell.
Brian Pothier (24:48], Ben Clymer (18:09) and Mike Green (17:33) were the top three Capitals defensemen in terms of opening night ice time. None of the three played more than 22 games on the Caps? blueline last season.
The Caps have won four straight home openers, each of which was also the season opener. The Capitals are 8-2-1 in their last 11 home openers, including 5-1-1 since moving to Verizon Center in the middle of the 1997-98 season.
The Caps failed to convert any of the eight power play chances they had in Thursday night?s season opener, but did kill off all three of the shorthanded situations they faced against New York.
After receiving their Stanley Cup champion rings on Monday, Carolina opened its season with a 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo at home on Wednesday night. Prior to that game, the Canes hoisted three banners to the ceiling of the RBC Center in Raleigh, commemorating their 2005-06 Southeast Division, Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup championship titles. A sellout crowd of 18,840 witnessed the 20-minute ceremony.
On Friday night, the Hurricanes hosted the New Jersey Devils in the Devils? season opener. New Jersey blanked the Hurricanes 4-0 in that one, with Devils? goaltender Martin Brodeur recording the 81st shutout of his NHL career, tying him with Alex Connell for sixth place on the NHL?s all-time whitewash ledger.
Eric Staal and Erik Cole scored for the Canes on opening night, but Carolina has not scored a goal in the last 92:19, since the middle of the second period of the season opener.
The Hurricanes made a significant trade a week ago, sending defensemen Jack Johnson and Oleg Tverdovsky to Los Angeles for defenseman Tim Gleason and center Eric Belanger. Gleason logged a team-leading 26:51 in the season opener. He averaged 17:41 a night with the Kings last season.
Carolina is 1-for-14 (7.1%) on the power play and has killed 12 of the 13 (92.3%) shorthanded situations it has faced thus far in the young season.
Notes: Friday night?s game against New Jersey marked the 300th career game for Carolina?s Peter Laviolette as a head coach.
Fun Fact: Carolina?s visit to Washington on Saturday marks the first time the Capitals have hosted the defending Stanley Cup champions in their home opener since 1983-84. After losing the 1983-84 season opener to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Oct. 6, the Caps returned home two nights later to take on the New York Islanders. The Fishermen were coming off the fourth of four straight Stanley Cup championships.
That was also the season in which the NHL first instituted the five-minute overtime period. That Caps-Islanders game on Oct. 8, 1983 was the first regular season overtime game in Capitals history.
Washington came up on the short end of that game, falling 8-7 on Bob Bourne?s goal at 2:01 of the extra session.
Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle had shoulder surgery and is out indefinitely.
Defenseman Bret Hedican had thumb and hip surgery in the offseason and is day-to-day.
Left wing Cory Stillman had offseason shoulder surgery and is day-to-day.
Left wing Matt Pettinger has an upper body injury and is week-to-week.
Right wing Matt Bradley has an undisclosed injury and is day-to-day.
Possible Line Combos and Defensive Pairings
26-Cole, 12-Staal, 13-Whitney
16-Ladd, 17-Brind?Amour, 11-Williams
19-Letowski, 25-Belanger, 24-Walker
14-K.Adams, 27-C. Adams, 59-LaRose
8-Ovechkin, 9-Zubrus, 17-Clark
28-Semin, 24-Beech, 20-Zednik
87-Brashear, 16-Sutherby, 21-Laich
43-Fleischmann, 38-Klepis, 22-Fata