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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gameday: at Tampa Bay, Jan. 31

Another big one tonight as the push commences.
The Washington Capitals are in Tampa Bay, Florida, this evening to take on the Lightning as they look to start hot out of the All-Star break.  The Caps, who somehow beat the Bruins last Tuesday in their final game before the break, are 5-4-1 over their last ten games and 26-19-3 overall for 55 standings points in 48 games.  Those 55 points place them first in the Southeast Division based on the number of wins they have, and third in the Eastern Conference, though there are many teams below them with more points.  The Lightning, who have won four in a row, are 4-5-1 over their last ten games and 21-23-4 overall for 46 standings points in 48 games.  Therefore they are fourth in the Southeast Division and twelfth overall in the East.  This is the third of six meetings between these two clubs this season; the Capitals have won both games so far, both by one goal and both inside Verizon Center.

Guy Boucher seems likely to go with Mathieu Garon in goal.  Garon, who made 22 saves in his last start, the last game before the All-Star break.  On the year Garon is 14-13-2 with a 2.92 GAA, .902 save percentage, and one shutout.  He has not faced the Capitals this year.  Outside the crease, the Bolts are expected to get a huge boost with the return of defenseman Victor Hedman, who has missed the last 13 games with a concussion.  Forwards Tom Pyatt and Adam Hall are also likely to return after missing extended periods.  They will, however, be without winger Ryan Malone (upper-body), defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron (upper body) and defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee surgery).

Tomas Vokoun should get the call in goal from Dale Hunter, following a vey nice performance against the Bruins at home last Tuesday night.  Vokoun is 20-12 on the year with a 2.56 GAA, .916 save percentage, and two shutouts.  He is 2-0 against the Bolts this year, allowing eight goals in those 2 starts.  On the injury front, the Capitals will be without both Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and Mike Green (sports hernia surgery).  Captain Alex Ovechkin will also be absent as he serves the second game of a three-match ban for a high hit in Pittsburgh nine days ago.  With the recent recall of Joel Rechlicz, the enforcer will make his Capitals debut over Jay Beagle.  One thing that is almost certain is that Jeff Schultz will be in the press box again, as John Erskine continues to dress.

Puck drops 7:39-ish.  Check back later.

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