Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gameday: vs. Columbus, Mar. 31

Dennis Wideman (left) will likely miss tonight's game.
The Washington Capitals will round out the month of March this evening when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to Verizon Center.  The Capitals come into tonight's game with 99 standings points, which places them first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference, coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina on Tuesday.  The Blue Jackets, on the other hand, have 79 points, which puts them in fifth in the Central Division and thirteenth in the Western Conference; the beat the Panthers on Tuesday 3-2.  This will be the one and only meeting between these two teams this season.

Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel is expected to start Steve Mason in goal for his team after he beat the Panthers earlier in the week.  Mason has never lost to the Capitals in his career, including two shutouts, and will bring 24 wins, a 2.95 GAA, .904 Save%, and two shutouts in 51 games to the table.  On the injury front, Columbus will be missing winger Kristian Huselius and defenseman Grant Clitsome for tonight's game.  Puck-moving blueliner and power-play quarterback Anton Stralman is questionable; he has missed more than a month with a lower-body injury.

Bruce Boudreau is expected to give the call to Michal Neuvirth in goal for the Capitals; his first start in over a week.  The young Czech has 24 wins, a 2.46 GAA, .915 Save%, and four shutouts in 44 games to his name this year and won his last start in Philadelphia before falling ill last weekend.  On the injury front, the Capitals are expected to be missing Dennis Wideman with a lower-body injury. The defenseman missed yesterday's practice, and although he is officially "day-to-day," don't expect to see him in the lineup; Tyler Sloan will replace him in the likely event that he can't go.  Mike Green and Tom Poti have both been ruled out on the back end with a concussion and a groin injury, respectively.  Jay Beagle and DJ King are expected to be healthy scratches up front, and it remains to be seen who will sit from the third line left wing spot: either Jason Chimera or Marco Sturm.

Puck drops for this one 7:08-ish.  Be sure to check out last night's Around the NHL post for all your scoreboard-watching, and check back later for updates from the morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

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