A new era of Washington Capitals hockey began Tuesday in a thrilling comeback victory. While that game almost ended in disappointment, Washington hopes that playing the St. Louis Blues doesn't bring any sadness Thursday.
Recent acquisitions Marco Sturm, Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott made their respective debuts in Tuesday's victory over the New York Islanders. A energetic start didn't bear any results, but Arnott's centering pass to Brooks Laich tied the game at 1-1 with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Alex Ovechkin would cap off an end-to-end rush to score the game-winning goal in overtime.
The newest Caps will help fill in injury-depleted positions, especially defense. Mike Green continues to recover from head injuries and is in Calgary mourning the loss of his grandmother. Green will meet up with the team in Florida on their weekend road trip, meaning that he will sit out yet another game Thursday. Meanwhile, Eric Fehr practiced Wednesday and he is optimistic that he will return shortly.
Both Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov missed practice Wednesday. Neuvirth took the day off, while Varlamov is still suffering from a knee injury.
Washington will be in for a test because St. Louis is a desperate team. The Blues have lost five of six and currently sit 13th in the Western Conference. When these two teams last met December 1, the Caps finally solved Jaroslav Halak, the former Montreal Canadiens goaltender who played a big role in eliminating them from the playoffs last season. Caps fans will have to wait to give Halak a piece of their minds; he has a broken hand and will not play.