Capitals Vs. Stars: Big Defenseman Scott Hannan Makes His Caps Debut In 'Big D' Against Stars

The Washington Capitals defeated the St. Louis Blues Wednesday for their first win in Missouri since 1996. On Thursday, the Capitals hope to get a big win in "Big D" against the Dallas Stars in defenseman Scott Hannan's Washington debut.

Hannan, acquired Tuesday from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Tomas Fleischmann, was a healthy scratch in the Capitals' 4-1 win over the Blues, but will start tonight in a pairing with John Erskine. According to head coach Bruce Boudreau, Tom Poti, Hannan's eventual defensive partner, will not play because a of a mild groin strain he suffered Wednesday. Poti has already missed 17 games this season with similar injuries.

Michal Neuvirth will get his first start since November 20, giving Semyon Varlamov a break. Varlamov has won four straight games since his return from injury. 

The Stars, like the Capitals, are riding a four-game winning streak into Thursday's game and lead the Pacific Division with 29 points. Both teams also have three double-digit goal scorers; the Stars are led by Brad Richards' 28 points, followed by Loui Eriksson's 25 and James Neal and Mike Ribeiro's 21. 

Andrew Raycroft will get a rare start in goal for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen has played in all but three games this season. Regardless, Raycroft is 5-3-1 with a .916 save percentage and 2.16 goals against average in his career against the Capitals.

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