With five games left in the regular season, the Washington Capitals have yet to play only one team: the Columbus Blue Jackets. While Columbus may be out of playoff contention, Washington would be best advised not to overlook them Thursday at Verizon Center.
The Caps could not weather the storm of the desperate Carolina Hurricanes in a 3-2 shootout loss Tuesday. It was the Hurricanes' first win in six tries against the Caps this season. The game wasn't the only thing the Caps lost; Dennis Wideman left the game with a lower-body injury after losing an edge and colliding with Tuomo Ruutu in the second period. The defenseman is day-to-day and his status for Thursday's game is uncertain.
The Blue Jackets have won their last two visits to Verizon Center and are 4-0-1 against the Southeast Division this season. Meanwhile, the Caps are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the most wins for an Eastern Conference team against the Central Division (four).
Semyon Varlamov lost Tuesday's game after making 24 saves. Yet, he or Michal Neuvirth can start Thursday with a clean slate because neither of them have ever faced Columbus. The Blue Jackets' goaltending duo of Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon are a combined 5-1-1 against Washington in their careers.