Capitals weekly primer

Capitals weekly primer
February 24, 2013, 11:15 pm
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The Capitals play three games in five days this week, highlighted by two matchups within the Southeast Division and the first of two trips this season to Philadelphia.

Below is a look at this week’s opponents. All numbers are through Sunday.

 

TUESDAY, FEB.26 VS. CAROLINA HURRICANES (9-7-1; 1ST PLACE SOUTHEAST DIVISION)

The Capitals wrap up their three-game homestand Tuesday at Verizon Center with the first of five meetings this season against former teammate Alexander Semin and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak Sunday with a 4-2 win against the New York Islanders. The Hurricanes have been slowed by injuries of late with top-six forward Jeff Skinner having missed the last four games with a concussion and Tuomo Ruutu yet to play this year due to hip surgery.

The Hurricanes have also been without defensemen Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason for the past four games because of lower body injuries and Jamie McBain for the past three games with an upper-body injury.

As for the Hurricanes that remain healthy, captain Eric Staal continues to lead the team with nine goals and 19 points in 17 games. His plus-11 rating is also tops among Eastern Conference forwards.

Staal has played primarily with Semin (17 GP, 4G, 10A, plus-10) and Jiri Tlusty (17GP, 7G, 5A, plus-9) on Carolina’s No.1 line. Jordan Staal has also adapted to his new surroundings with four goals and 11 assists in 17 games.

The Capitals went 3-2-1 against Carolina last season.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27 @ PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (9-10-1; 3RD PLACE ATLANTIC DIVISION)

The Capitals will play their second game is many nights Wednesday when they visit Philadelphia for the first time this season. The Caps beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon Center on Feb.1 with Wojtek Wolski netting the game-winning-goal and Braden Holtby turning aside 29 of 31 shots.

Philadelphia was without Scott Hartnell that night, but the team’s leading goal-scorer of a year ago returned over the weekend from a broken foot. Hartnell had missed 16 games with the injury.

The Flyers enter the week having won three of four overall, with an average of 5.0 goals-per-game over that span. Dating to Feb. 16, Jakob Voracek has a five-game point streak (4G, 8A, 12PTS) and has had a point in 57 percent of the Flyer’s last 21 goals.

Wednesday’s meeting with the Capitals marks the fourth game of Philadelphia’s season-high five-game homestand. The Flyers enter the week with a 5-2-1 record at the Wells Fargo Center this season.

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 2 @ WINNIPEG JETS (8-9-1; 3RD PLACE SOUTHEAST DIVISION)

The Capitals make their first trip to the Manitoba capital next weekend for the second of five meetings this season against the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets spoiled the Capitals’ home opener with a 4-2 win on Jan. 22 with Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler each recording a goal and an assist in the Winnipeg win.

The 21-year-old Kane has historically played well against the Capitals (dating back to the Jets’ days as the Atlanta Thrashers) with nine goals and 13 points in 16 career games against Washington. Kane also enters the week on a seven game scoring streak (4G, 3A, plus-five rating).

The Capitals won one of three games in Winnipeg last season with all three games being played before sellout crowds of 15,004 at the MTS Centre.

Saturday’s game will also be a homecoming of sorts for Manitoba native Eric Fehr, who appeared in 35 games with the Jets last season during an injury plagued 2011-12 campaign.