Gameday: vs. Winnipeg, Jan. 22

WJLA

The Washington Capitals will kick off their 2013 home schedule Tuesday night as they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to Verizon Center for a Southeast Division clash.  The Capitals, having got off to a poor start by getting smacked around in Tampa Saturday night, will need to take advantage of a Jets squad playing their second game in 30 hours.  Winnipeg lost to the Bruins, 2-1 in a shootout, on Monday and are 0-1-1 on the young season so far.  With this game comes an opportunity for the Caps to pounce on a weary team in their home opener and get two points that they need in this abbreviated season.

Ondrej Pavelec played well for Claude Noel yesterday, but given the back-to-back situation, it seems likely that Noel will opt to go with backup Al Montoya.  Montoya has not played in a game this season, but posted a 3.11 GAA and .893 save percentage last season in 26 starts for the Islanders.  On the injury front, the Jets are missing top-four defenseman Zach Bogosian, who is sidelined with a hand injury, and winger Antti Miettinen, who has an upper-body ailment.  Other than that, Winnipeg will field a full lineup.

Despite Braden Holtby's disastrous season debut, Adam Oates will once again turn to his young Canadian netminder for this evening's game.  Holtby allowed six goals on 34 shots Saturday, but has posted success coming off losses so far in his career.  On the injury front, both Brooks Laich and Jack Hillen will be out of the lineup with lower-body and upper-body injuries respectively; Laich could return to practice Wednesday.  To compensate for Hillen's injury, the recently recalled Tomas Kundratek will fill in his place and skate with Roman Hamrlik, meaning that both Jeff Schultz and John Erskine are healthy scratches in back.  Grit forward Joey Crabb will make his season debut on the fourth line, and Eric Fehr will be benched up front.

Puck drops 7:08-ish; the game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet and nationally on TSN in Canada.  Check back later.

Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR.  Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.

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