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!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gameday: vs. Minnesota, Mar. 25

Expect Holtby to get right back in there Sunday.
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Minnesota Wild to Verizon Center this evening as they look to rebound from a very tough overtime loss at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.  Washington who have lost two consecutive games in overtime, are 5-2-3 in their last ten games and 37-30-8 overall for 82 standings points in 75 games.  That places them second in the Southeast Division, four points behind the Panthers with one more game played, and ninth overall in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Sabres for the final playoff spot with one game in hand.  The Wild, who started hot but have plummeted back to Earth over the second half of the season, are 3-7-0 in their last ten and 31-33-10 overall for 72 standings points in 74 games.  That has them fourth in the Northwest Division and thirteenth overall in the Western Conference. This is the one and only meeting between these two clubs this season.

Matt Hackett is the tentative starter for the Wild in goal this evening after Josh Harding lost last night in Buffalo.  Hackett, who has spent most of the year in the AHL, is 3-5-0 on the campaign with a 2.30 GAA, .927 save percentage, and zero shutouts; he has a .943 save percentage away from the XCel Energy Center this year.  Outside the crease, the Wild have several injuries.  Defenseman Jared Spurgeron (concussion), winger Guillame Latendresse (concussion), and forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) are all out.  Other than that; Minnesota is healthy.

After Michal Neuvirth lost on Friday, I would expect Braden Holtby to get the call from Dale Hunter.  Holbty has only made three starts this year and is 1-1-1 with a 2.94 GAA, .906 save percentage, and zero shutouts.  He has never faced the Wild in his career.  On the injury front, the Caps are still without center Nicklas Backstrom, who is not playing because of a concussion but has resumed practicing in recent weeks.  Joel Ward, who was on crutches Friday but is now reportedly off them, is almost certain not to play.  That means that there will be no healthy scratch barring a call up Sunday morning.  On defense, I would expect Dmitry Orlov to return to the lineup after being scratched for the previous weeks games, meaning that Jeff Schultz and John Erskine would be healthy scratches.

Puck drops 5:09-ish.  As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

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