News and Notes from Thursday’s Capitals Morning Skate at Florida: A New Look Defense

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The Washington Capitals headed down to Florida following a loss Tuesday night to the Lightning. The Capitals will take on the Florida Panthers Thursday night as newly acquired Michal Kempny makes his Caps debut. The team held a morning skate at BB&T Center on Thursday night and we all found out who and where Kempny will be paired with on the blueline. 

The Capitals lines this morning:

Starter’s net: Braden Holtby

No changes to the forward lines. Alex Chiasson will once again be a healthy scratch. This is the seventh time in the last 10 games that Chiasson will have a seat up in the press box.

On the defense, Michal Kempny makes his Capitals debut. He’ll be on the right side of the third pairing alongside Brooks Orpik. Kempny has never played on the right side while in Chicago, just the left side.

There is a strong possibility that Kempny will be a part of the Capitals penalty killing unit. He participated in the PK drills.

After Taylor Chorney was picked up by the Columbus Blue Jackets off waivers, the Capitals traded a 2019 fifth round draft pick to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Jakub Jerabek. Jerabek wasn’t in Florida with the Capitals, he’ll meet the team in DC this weekend.

Madison Bowey will be a healthy scratch on the defense. At this time there’s no telling what will happen to him yet but some think he could be sent down to Hershey. The Bears play tomorrow night in Hartford against the Wolfpack.

Braden Holtby was in the starter’s net so it is likely he’ll get the nod tonight against the Florida Panthers. Holtby has dropped four games in a row and looks for a better performance than the one he had on Tuesday night where he allowed four goals on 19 shots. Holtby is 10-1-1 lifetime in 12 career games against the Panthers with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Holtby has done well in contests against teams in the Atlantic Division this season, carrying a 9-2-1 record with a 2.64 GAA and .916 save percentage. Only Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, who plays in the Atlantic Division, has more wins against the Atlantic than Holtby over the last four seasons (55-51).

One week ago, 17 students and teachers lost their lives in a mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland.  The Panthers home practice facility is just four miles away from the school. Several players live within the surrounding community and some team staff members were alumni of the high school.

Both the Capitals and the Panthers will wear Stoneman Douglas hats during pregame warmups and hold a pregame ceremony honoring the victims. Tonight is the Panthers’ first home game since that tragic event took place.




  • The Capitals are 64-40-9-9 all-time against the Panthers and 30-23-4-4 at BB&T Arena.
  • Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36 and leads the Capitals in points with 67 (36 goals, 31 assists).
  • Lars Eller’s goal on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning was his 12th of the season and his 30 point of the season. His 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) tie a career-high that was set in the 2013 season (8 goals, 22 assists). His 12 goals tie last season’s mark.
  • The Capitals have earned a point in 17 of their last 21 games against the Panthers (15-4-2).
  • Alex Ovechkin has earned 75 points (36 goals, 39 assists) in 59 career games against the Panthers, marking the fourth-most points he has earned against an NHL franchise (Winnipeg/Atlanta: 89, Carolina: 85, Tampa Bay: 85).
  • Nicklas Backstrom has earned 47 points (11 goals, 36 assists) in 47 career games against Florida.
  • Washington defensemen have combined for 127 points this season.
  • At even strength, Capitals defensemen have combined for 102 points this season.


By Michael Marzzacco

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2 Responses to News and Notes from Thursday’s Capitals Morning Skate at Florida: A New Look Defense

  1. Pingback: Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals Pay Tribute to Stoneman Douglas Victims | NoVa Caps

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