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!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gameday: vs. Pittsburgh, Jan. 11

Another must-win game.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Verizon Center tonight as they attempt to reclaim some momentum following a humiliating swing out west over the last five days.  The Capitals enter tonight 5-4-1 over their last ten games, having lost two in a row, and 21-17-2 overall for 44 standings points.  Those 44 points place them third in the Southeast Division, six behind leaders Florida, and tenth in the Eastern Conference.  The Penguins, on the other hand, have lost five consecutive games, including a 5-1 loss to the Senators last night, and are 21-16-4 overall for 46 standings points.  That point total places them fourth in the very competitive Atlantic Division and eighth overall in the East.  This is the third of four meetings between these two clubs this season; they have split the season series so far.

Dan Bylsma will call on Marc-Andre Fleury in goal tonight after he relieved Brent Johnson during last night's loss in Ottawa.  On the year, Fleury is 19-11-2 with a 2.32 GAA, .911 save percentage, and two shutouts, and always brings his A-game against the Capitals.  Outside the crease, Pittsburgh is decimated by injuries.  Sidney Crosby (concussion), Kris Letang (concussion), and Jordan Staal (knee) are all out with long-term injuries, while defenseman Paul Martin is questionable with an illness.  Winger James Neal, who has a broken foot, is expected to play despite his injury.

Tomas Vokoun seems the likely candidate to get the call in goal from Dale Hunter despite allowing four goals on 27 shots in his last start, during which he was pulled after two periods.  Vokoun is 16-10 on the year with a 2.66 GAA, .912 save percentage, and one shutout; he is 1-1 against Pittsburgh this season.  On the injury front, both Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom will not play with groin and head injuries, respectively.  That means that Tomas Kundratek, who was called up this morning, will make his NHL debut, while John Erskine and Jeff Schultz will be scratched.

Puck drops 7:09-ish.

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