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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!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gameday: vs. Tampa Bay, Mar. 8

And the plot thickens...
The Washington Capitals will welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Verizon Center on Thursday evening as they attempt to break the throes of a three game losing streak that has seen them slip farther back from playoff contention.  The Capitals are 4-5-1 in their last ten games and 32-28-6 overall for 70 standings points in 66 games.  That places them third in the Southeast Division, two points behind the Jets with a game in hand and four points behind the Panthers with one more game played.  The Bolts, who have charged hard in the last two weeks, are 7-3 in their last ten and 31-29-6 overall for 68 points in 66 games.  They are therefore third in the Southeast and eleventh in the East.  This is the fifth of six meetings between these two clubs this year; the Caps are 2-1-1 in the previous four games.

Rookie Dustin Tokarski is expected to make his first career NHL start this evening for Guy Boucher's men.  Tokarski, who's callup was only necessary because of an injury to Mathieu Garon, is 27-11 in the AHL so far with year with a 2.34 GAA, .907 save percentage, and four shutouts.  He has played 44 minutes at the NHL level in relief, however, allowing three goals on 16 shots in that limited action.  Outside the crease, Tampa has several injuries, none more significant than the absence of captain Vincent Lecavalier, who has a broken hand. Defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron (back surgery) and Mattias Ohlund (knee), as well as forward Dana Tyrell (undisclosed) will also not play.

Tomas Vokoun will start in goal for the Capitals, as Michal Neuvirth has been in the net for three consecutive losses, though they were no fault of his own. Vokoun, who has not played in over two weeks, is 23-16-2 on the year with a 2.52 GAA, .917 save percentage, and four shutouts.  He allowed two goals on 23 shots in a 2-1 loss the last time he faced the Bolts.  On the injury front, the Caps are still without Nicklas Backstrom because of a concussion; he is not even in the country right now as he is visiting family in his native Sweden.  In addition, despite the three consecutive losses, Hunter will keep his lineup intact, which means that John Erskine, Mike Knuble, and Roman Hamrlik will remain scratched.

Puck drops 7:09-ish.  As always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.

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