For Carolina, bench boss Paul Maurice will give the nod in nets to stalwart Cam Ward, who has been the Hurricanes' franchise goalie for the last half decade. Ward was a workhorse last year, leading the league in starts, minutes, and saves while compiling a 37-26-10 record to go along with a 2.54 GAA, .923 save percentage, and four shutouts. Carolina is led offensively by superstar captain Eric Staal and reigning Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner, as well as shiny new offseason acquisition Tomas Kaberle on the blue line. The Hurricanes also have an interesting rookie, Zac Dalpe, who is a dark horse for some to win the Calder.
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau has surprised everyone by selecting Michal Neuvirth to be his goaltender for tonight's game over offseason prize Tomas Vokoun. Neuvirth was very solid last year, posting a 27-12-4 record with a 2.45 GAA, .914 save percentage, and four shutouts, which led all rookie goaltenders. He is certainly capable of getting the job done, as he proved last season, but this is definitely a shock given Vokoun's reputation. On the health front, the Capitals will be missing defensemen Tom Poti and John Erskine, who are on the mend with groin and shoulder ailments, respectively. DJ King and Marcus Johansson will be the healthy scratches.
Puck drops 7:07-ish. Check back later.