|Better days were here in October. Feels like a lifetime ago.|
Jimmy Howard should start for Mike Babcock's men despite getting lit up for four goals in his last start. After a mediocre sophomore campaign, Howard has rebounded this year with a stellar season: a 33-14-3 record, 2.11 GAA, .922 save percentage, and six shutouts. Outside the crease, the Wings have several injuries, none more notable than that of captain and seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, who is sidelined with an ankle injury. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and forward Jakub Klindl (upper body) are also out. Winger Johan Franzen (back) and center Darren Helm (upper body) are questionable.
Because Michal Neuvirth started last night and lost, the Caps could turn to Braden Holtby in nets for only his second start of the year this evening. Holtby, who has spent basically the whole year in AHL Hershey, made 30 saves on 35 shots in his only NHL action this year, a game against the Sharks in which he took the loss. On the injury front, the Caps are still without star center Nicklas Backstrom because of a concussion, though the Swede has skated at Kettler Capitals Icplex for the last six consecutive days. After such a disastrous game Sunday, expect Dale Hunter to make some changes to his lineup, probably along the lines of Roman Hamrlik returning to action. But, as always, it's anyone's guess after a loss until the morning skate.
Puck drops 7:40-ish. Check back later. And, as always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.