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Caps return home to face former division-rival Panthers

(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a commanding effort on Friday night, the Washington Capitals try to extend their recent dominance of the Florida Panthers just one night later as they host their former division rivals.

The Capitals return home for three straight following a 3-2-0 road trip. They snapped a two-game slide by capping the swing with last night's 7-0 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers despite missing captain Alex Ovechkin due to injury.

Joel Ward stepped up with his first career hat trick and Braden Holtby made 30 saves in his eighth career shutout. Nicklas Backstrom added two goals and an assist, while Jason Chimera extended his goal-scoring streak to four consecutive games while adding three helpers.

"I think we worked hard. We worked as a team. We scored on our chances. That's what you have to do, especially when you have a good goal scorer out of the lineup," Backstrom said. "Lots of guys stepped up, and that's exactly what we needed."

Ovechkin is tied for second in the NHL with 10 goals and sat out last night's contest with an upper-body injury. His status for this game is unknown, but the Capitals didn't miss him for at least one night.

"We created turnovers, we created some speed, we cycled well - all the things we talk about on a night-to-night basis," said Washington coach Adam Oates.

Holtby's shutout included an unwanted fight in the third period as Philadelphia netminder Ray Emery skated the length of the ice to engage the Washington netminder despite Holtby's reluctance.

Emery was assessed a game misconduct, while Holtby remained in the game to complete his shutout.

That could lead to Oates opting to rest Holtby tonight despite the netminder's perfect 5-0-0 record and 2.40 goals against average versus the Panthers. Backup Michal Neuvirth is 2-3-1 against them with a 2.90 GAA.

Holtby started all four games versus the Panthers last season, when the two clubs were still playing in the Southeast Division. Washington has since moved to the Metropolitan Division under realignment, while Florida now plays in the Atlantic Division.

That will mean fewer meetings between the clubs this season, not that the Panthers will mind. They have lost seven straight and 10 of the last 13 encounters and have also dropped seven straight in D.C.

The Panthers are set to play nine of their next 11 on the road following a disappointing 1-3-2 homestand. Panthers coach Kevin Dineen is likely to shake up his lineup ahead of tonight's game after a 4-0 setback to the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

"If we can't get everybody to compete harder than we did tonight, then we'll just stumble along," said Dineen. "We'll get our wins here and there, but we need more participation in those hard parts of the game to have success."

Jacob Markstrom allowed four goals on 23 shots for the Panthers, who were shut out for the third time this season and for the second time versus the Blues. They lost a 7-0 decision in St. Louis on Oct. 5.

With Tim Thomas out due to a lower-body injury, Markstrom was making his fourth start in a row. Thomas did not make the trip to Washington, so either Markstrom or Scott Clemmensen will get the call tonight.

Markstrom is 0-3-0 with a 3.97 GAA in his career versus the Capitals, while Clemmensen is 4-7-2 with a 3.90 GAA in 20 meetings, including 14 starts.

Clemmensen has made just one relief appearance this season.

11/02 11:08:16 ET

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Schedule

Monday, April 21Full Scoreboard
Pittsburgh 4/21 7:00 PM ET
Columbus NBCSN, CBC, ROOT, FSN-OH
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Series tied, 1-1.
Colorado 4/21 7:00 PM ET
Minnesota TSN, NHL Net, Altitude
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Colorado leads series, 2-0.
St. Louis 4/21 8:30 PM ET
Chicago CNBC, CBC, FSN-MW, CSN
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. St. Louis leads series, 2-0.
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Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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