|"This is going to be biggest game of the year for us." - 8|
Ondrej Pavelec should start in goal for Claude Noel, his tenth consecutive start in the Winnipeg crease. Pavelec was pulled in his last start after allowing five goals on 24 shots to a superhuman Pittsburgh team, but overall on the year has a 27-25-7 record, 2.84 GAA, .909 save percentage, and four shutouts; he beat the Caps the last time he faced them. Outside the crease, the Jets only have two injuries: enforcing winger Chris Thorburn is out indefinitely with a lower body injury, while forward Nik Antropov is questionable with a lower body ailment of his own.
Despite a strong performance from Braden Holtby in Philadelphia last night, I expect Michal Neuvirth to get the call in goal because Washington lost and Dale Hunter has shown an unwillingness to go with the same goalie on back to back days even after wins. Neuvirth is 11-12-4 on the year with a 2.85 GAA, .900 save percentage, and three shutouts; he shut out the Jets the last time he faced them. On the injury front, the Caps are still without star center Nicklas Backstrom, who is recuperating from a concussion currently. Winger Alexander Semin, who missed Thursday night's game with a lower body injury, has to be considered questionable at best; if he does play, though, the healthy scratch among forwards is anyone's guess. On defense, I would wager that Dmitry Orlov will return to the lineup in the stead of Jeff Schultz, while John Erskine would remain in the press box.
Puck drops 7:09-ish. I will be in the press box tonight; as always, follow me on Twitter here for news and updates.