Corey Masisak – NHL.com Staff Writer
HURRICANES (9-7-1) at CAPITALS (6-10-1)
Semin set to return to D.C. for first time
TV: FS-CR, CSN-DC
Last 10: Carolina 6-3-1; Washington 5-5-0
Season Series: This is the first of five meetings. The Hurricanes and Capitals split the season series in 2011-12, with Washington winning the first three contests and Carolina claiming the final three.
Big Story: Alexander Semin returns to Verizon Center as an opposing player for the first time, as the Capitals try to cut into the injury-depleted Hurricanes’ lead in the Southeast Division.
Hurricanes: Semin had a three-point night to help Carolina defeat the New York Islanders, but Washington forward Troy Brouwer’s comments about the talented forward will be the focal point leading up to the game. To Semin’s credit, he has fit in well with the Hurricanes, providing the same quality secondary scoring he did in Washington when the Capitals were near or atop the National Hockey League standings.
Before the win against the Islanders, the Hurricanes had lost three straight and are dealing with injuries to several key players. Still, this is a chance to create further separation between them and a division rival … and maybe help their new teammate earn a bit of extra satisfaction in the process.
Capitals: Washington has won four of six, but remains in last place in the Southeast after a terrible start to the season. The Capitals could also have bigger injury concerns for this game with a couple of key forwards questionable.
One player who should be back is defenseman Mike Green, who has missed nearly two weeks with a groin injury. If he players, it will be in front of Braden Holtby, who is the owner of a new two-year contract extension after signing one Monday. Holtby’s play has been a big part of the team’s resurgence — he’s allowed nine goals in the past four games and 14 in the past six.
Who’s Hot: Jiri Tlusty has seven goals in the past eight games for Carolina. Troy Brouwer has five goals in the past six games for the Capitals.
Injury Report: The Hurricanes have been without three of their top four defensemen — Joni Pitkanen (lower body), Tim Gleason (lower body) and Jamie McBain (upper body), and only Gleason is possible to play against the Capitals. They are also without key forwards Jeff Skinner (concussion) and Tuomo Ruutu (hip). … The Capitals’ injury situation got murkier Monday. Nicklas Backstrom (sick) did not practice and Jason Chimera (lower body) left practice early. They are already without forwards Brooks Laich (groin) and Marcus Johansson (upper body) and defensemen Jack Hillen (upper body) and Dmitry Orlov (upper body).