The Washington Capitals (11-7-3-25, first in Southeast Division) host the Atlanta Thrashers (8-10-2-18, third in Southeast Division) from Verizon Center at 7:00 pm ET.
As the team limps home from a five-game road trip that they finished 1-3-1, the theme for tonight's game is David Bowie: "Ch-ch-ch-changes...turn and face the strange."
Four new players will be in the Washington lineup this evening. Recalled from Hershey are wingers Chris Bourgue and Graham Mink, and defensemen Sami Lepisto and Karl Alzner. All four players will dress and play key roles for the parent club tonight.
This morning, the team placed D Jeff Schultz (broken finger) and RW Chris Clark (broken wirst) on the long-term injury list (LTIR), which means both players must miss at least 10 games, pushing their potential return date into mid-December.
By putting the two on LTIR, the Caps received cap space to add the new players. Schultz and Clark join Sergei Federov, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Boyd Gordon, and John Eskine on the injured list. Most of the others are still labelled "day-to-day," though none participated in the morning skate.
Here are tonight's lines:
Atlanta is led by forwards Slava Kozlov (11-8-19, plus-1), Ilya Kovalchuk (7-11-18, minus-2) and Bryan Little (9-9-18, plus-8). Top goaltender Kari Lehtonen (2-5-2, 3.44, .903) has struggled, and is hampered now by a sore back.
Johan Hedberg (4-3-0, 3.88, .884) has not provided solid backup work in net, so the team recalled Ondej Pavelec (2-2-0, 2.33, .913) when Lehtonen went down, and the youngster has provided a spark. Hedberg got the win last night, as Atlanta defeated Toronto 6-3. Todd White had two goals in the effort. The Thrashers had lost their previous three games.
WAS: PP-10th (20.2%, 18-89); PK-24th (79.1%, 23-110)
ATL: PP-15th (18.4%, 16-87); PK-28th (75.0%, 23-92) _____________________________________________________
INJURIES (OUT, DBT-doubtful, QUE-Questionable, DTD-Day to day; IR-Injury List)
WAS: C Sergei Fedorov (Ankle-OUT); LW Alexander Semin (Upper body-OUT); D John Erskine (Undisclosed-QUE); C Boyd Gordon (Back-QUE); D Mike Green (Shoulder-OUT); D Jeff Schultz (Finger-OUT); RW Chris Clark (Wrist-OUT); D Brian Pothier (Concussion-OUT)
ATL: C Steve Rucchin (concussion-DBT); D Zach Bogosian (leg-IR); G Kari Lehtonen Back-QUE)