Washington at Florida
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Friday, December 13, 2013
Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida
The Washington Capitals vie for their fourth straight victory and sixth in seven outings on Friday when they visit the Florida Panthers. Florida has won three of its last four games but sits near the bottom of the Atlantic Division having allowed 106 goals. Washington has earned points in each of its last four road contests as it attempts to keep pace with Pittsburgh at the top of the Metropolitan Division.
Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer has earned the last two wins for the Capitals, stopping 30 shots against the New York Rangers and relieving Braden Holtby with 32 saves in a shootout victory over Tampa Bay. The Panthers are struggling to find consistency from their young group of forwards, including Jonathan Huberdeau and rookie Aleksander Barkov, who have combined for just four points over the last nine contests despite playing important minutes. The Capitals have scored 14 goals in their last three games, while Florida has netted more than two just once in its last eight.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN DC, Fox Sports Florida
ABOUT THE CAPITALS (17-12-2): Captain Alex Ovechkin scored four goals Tuesday, bringing his season total to 26 in just 29 games. Brooks Laich resumed skating this week as he tries to return from a groin injury, but Washington coach Adam Oates cautioned fans not to get their hopes up for a return to the lineup until Laich is participating in full practices. Washington’s power play has difficulties on the road, going 9-for-52 despite scoring 20 goals on 67 man-advantage opportunities at home.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (10-17-5): Goaltender Tim Thomas, who has started 15 of the team’s last 16 games, left practice early Thursday and is considered questionable to start against Washington due to an undisclosed injury. Should he be held out, Scott Clemmensen would start for the second time in three games. Scottie Upshall leads the team with 17 points but has been held off the scoresheet for three games and has not scored a goal in five. Rookie defenseman Dylan Olsen has five points on a four-game streak as he settles in with his new team following a trade from the Blackhawks.
1. The Capitals have won a league-high seven of nine shootouts, giving them only 10 regulation or overtime victories - the lowest total of any playoff team.
2. Ovechkin has 30 goals and 61 points in 47 career contests against Florida.
3. Washington is on an eight-game winning streak against the Panthers, including a 3-2 shootout victory earlier in the season.
PREDICTION: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Stats and Records