Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals will look to win their fifth straight game tonight as they host the Boston Bruins. Riding the hot hand, head coach Bruce Boudreau will send out Michal Neuvirth for his sixth consecutive start as the Bruins send out Tim Thomas for his third straight.
Those two goalies have been confirmed, see the starting goalies section for the rest of tonight’s goaltending matchups.
Ovechkin naturally leads the Caps in scoring with eight in his first five. Following him is rookie John Carlson, who now has posted six points on the season and will continue to be the team’s offensive threat from the point until Mike Green returns. Green is listed as a game-time decision but will be unlikely to play.
Leading the way for Boston has been the top line of Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and David Krejci, who have combined for twelve points over their first three games. Youngsters Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron also have looked good and both put across their first NHL goals so far.
The Calgary Flames and Miikka Kiprusoff, who is making his fifth consecutive start, will take on the Nashville Predators in what will be the first of three road games. The team seems somewhat revitalized by Matt Stajan returning to the top line next to Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla and they will look to continue their scoring ways as they recently put up five against the Edmonton Oilers in their last game– the second Battle of Alberta this season.
For Nashville, netminder Pekka Rinne returns between the pipes and blue-chip prospect Colin Wilson will finally get his shot at playing center for the team. Martin Erat also returns to the team after a brief injury but expected top line center Matthew Lombardi has been officially placed on the IR with a concussion. Lombardi will be reevaluated on Monday but coach Barry Trotz believes the injury leaves his player out indefinitely. When originally signing the speedy pivot the team envisioned using him in a much bigger role and will look to fill that elsewhere, possibly with Wilson.
Both the Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild will ice a banged up team.
Vancouver will be without not only Keith Ballard but also Dan Hamhuis as they look to win their second straight. Minnesota has been mired with injuries and now the flu bug, forcing brass to call up former first round pick Colton Gillies. Despite their recent influx of walking wounded, both teams will start their number one goalie in an attempt to make up for their losses. On the bright side, often-injured defenseman Brent Burns will manage to play consecutive games.
The final game of the evening is between the young Carolina Hurricanes and powerhouse San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have been tinkering with three balanced lines of scoring however we are not sure at this point if these combinations will stand. Carolina also will tinker with their top lines as Eric Staal will play between Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose while Tuomo Ruutu moves over to center as the team looks to avenge a blowout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.