Last week, the Washington Capitals entered their game with the Florida Panthers with a one-point lead in the Southeast Division, one they ultimately yielded after a 4-2 loss. Tuesday, the Caps hope for the opposite as they face the Panthers once again at Verizon Center.
Washington is now one point behind Florida in the Southeast Division and a win would put it back in first in the division and third in the Eastern Conference, respectively. Entering play Monday, the idle Caps are on the outside looking in at the playoff race in ninth place.
The Caps were without Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green last week. Even though Ovechkin has returned from his three-game suspension, Brooks Laich may not play Tuesday after suffering a leg injury during Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Laich did not practice Monday and head coach Dale Hunter said Laich is "day-to-day." Laich has missed just four games since the start of the 2007-08 season.
Meanwhile, Florida is not immune to the injury bug. The Panthers are currently missing Jacob Markstrom (knee), Scottie Upshall (sports hernia), Ed Jovanovski (hand), Dmitry Kulikov (knee) and Marco Sturm (knee surgery). Scott Clemmensen, who defeated Washington last week in a 26-save performance, will likely start Tuesday.