Game 5 Preview: Panthers try to snap early season slump against defending cup champions

The 0-2-2 Florida Panthers head into the American capital tonight to take on the Capitals. The defending stanley cup champions have started off with a record of 3-2-1.

Capitals: The Capitals have been scoring a lot early on. The Capitals have scored at least 4 goals in 4 of their 6 games. The Capitals beat the Rangers 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday. Braden Holtby starts.

Lines (Projected):

Alex Ovechkin-Evengy Kuznetsov- Chandler Stephenson

Jakub Vrana-Nicklas Backstrom- TJ Oshie

Andre Burakovsky- Lars Eller- Brett Conolly

Dmitri Jaskin- Nic Dowd- Devantae Smith-Pelly

Michael Kempny- John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov- Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik- Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby

Phoenix Copley

Stats Leaders: Goals- Ovechkin (6) Assists- Backstrom (8) Points- Kuznetsov (10)


Panthers: The Panthers start their first game of a back to back. James Reimer starts after a rocky start to the season. Bob Boughner has spread out his lines as he expects to give his lines even time as the Panthers have to fly to South Florida to play the Red Wings tomorrow night. Despite an impressive comeback from a 5-2 deficit, the Panthers lost in the shootout 6-5 to the Flyers on Tuesday night.


Evengii Dadonov- Aleksander Barkov- Nick Bjugstad

Jonathan Huberdeau-Colton Sceviour-Vincent Trocheck

Frank Vatrano- Jared McCann- Denis Malgin

Mike Hoffman- Juho Lammikko- Troy Brouwer

Keith Yandle- Aaron Ekblad

Mark Pysyk- Alex Petrovic

Mackenzie Weegar- Bogdan Kiselevich

James Reimer

Michael Hutchinson

Stats Leaders: Goals- Dadonov/Barkov/Vatrano (2)  Assists- Yandle (4) Points- Yandle/Trocheck/Dadonov (4)

Alexander vs Aleksander

Two Alexanders will go up against each other tonight with one spelling his name the usual way and the other going by Aleksander. The two captains Alexander Ovechkin and Aleksander Barkov will face off. Both players lead their teams in goals and are the faces of their teams. Barkov is a defensive dynamo while Ovechkin is one of the greatest shooters in history.

Keys to the Game

Defense- The Panthers need to play well defensively against a high scoring Capitals team. The defense has been problematic for the Panthers all season long.

Even time- The Panthers must distribute ice time evenly with a game against Detroit tomorrow which Boughner seems hard pressed to win against the 0-5-2 Red Wings.

Line by Line Matchup

Line 1- Washington

Line 2- Washington

Line 3- Washington

Line 4- Florida

D1- Washington

D2- Washington

D3- Washington

Goalie- Washington

Backup Goalie- Florida

Goalie Matchup

Florida: James Reimer is 0-2-1 in 3 games this season with an .885 Save Percentage and a 3.62 GAA. Reimer in his career against the Capitals is 4-4-2 in 10 games with a .937 save percentage, a 2.16 GAA and a shutout.

Washington: Braden Holtby is 3-1-1 this season with an .898 save percentage, a 3.18 GAA and a shutout. In his career against the Panthers, Holtby is 10-2-1 with a .920 Save Percentage, a 2.36 GAA and a shutout.

Backup Goalies

Florida: Michael Hutchinson is 0-0-1 in a game this year with an .808 Save percentage and a 4.62 GAA. However that was mainly due to a defensive meltdown on the Pantehrs part as all goals scored on him were in my opinion near impossible to save. In his career against the Capitals, he is 0-1-1 with an .864 Save percentage and a 4.46 GAA.

Washington: Pheonix Copley is 0-1-0 in one game this year with an .833 Save Percentage and a 6.03 GAA. Copley has never played the Panthers in his career.