With Ovechkin still out and injuries beginning to mount, the Capitals look for a second straight victory over the visiting Panthers when the teams conclude their home-and-home series Saturday night.
Playing its second consecutive game without Ovechkin (upper-body injury), Washington (9-3-4) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win at Florida on Friday.
While Ovechkin - the two-time defending league MVP and current NHL goal leader - is considered week to week and likely out for this contest since being injured against Columbus on Sunday, the Capitals could also be minus defensemen Mike Green(notes) (upper body) and Jeff Schultz(notes) (lower body) after both were hurt at Florida.
“Really good teams usually have to play with a lot of injuries, because their guys are willing to pay the price of winning,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I just hope our price wasn’t too high.”
Boudreau said the statuses of Green and Schultz would be updated Saturday.
Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom(notes) added an assist for his eighth point in six games. He has a goal and 13 assists in 15 contests against the Panthers (5-8-1), who had their three-game winning streak snapped Friday.
“They’re a desperate team,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said of the Capitals. “They’d lost three in a row. Got some key players out, we’ve been on the other end of that. They were hungrier in the tough areas than we were. There’s no excuse for that.”
Though Theodore improved to 4-2-4 with a 2.72 goals-against average this season and 13-11-0 with three ties against Florida, Semyon Varlamov(notes) could be in net for the Capitals in this back-to-back scenario.
Varlamov, who has never faced Florida, is 5-1-0 with a 3.18 GAA this season.
“We have to be better,” forward Michael Frolik(notes) told the Panthers’ official Web site. “We’ve got to battle for the pucks. We (dumped) it in and they always have the pucks first and clean it out.”
Horton has two goals and six assists in his last five games, but only two goals over a seven-game stretch against the Capitals.