After starting their 2011 pre-season slate with a 0-2-1 record in three road games last week, the Capitals are set to host their pre-season opener on Monday when the Columbus Blue Jackets pay a visit to Verizon Center.
Since Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago, the Capitals have lopped several more players off their training camp roster. With four pre-season games ahead in the next seven days, the Caps have just six more cuts to make. And if defenseman John Erskine is not yet ready for game action when the roster setting deadline rolls around next week, Washington might only need to make five trims between now and then.
Washington traveled to Columbus to take on the Jackets last Wednesday. After Jeff Halpern scored the game’s first goal for Washington, Columbus scored three unanswered strikes to take a 3-1 lead. The Capitals got off the floor late, scoring two goals in a span of just 83 seconds in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime.
Former Cap Alexandre Giroux netted the game-winner on a power play in the extra session to send the Capitals home on the short end of a 4-3 score.
Columbus has lost backup goaltender Mark Dekanich to a night ankle sprain sustained early in the team’s pre-season schedule. The Jackets will also likely be without defenseman James Wisniewski. Wisniewski, signed over the summer to a six-year, $33 million deal, was suspended by the NHL pending a hearing for an incident that occurred late in Friday’s game with the Minnesota Wild.
With Dekanich on the sidelines, the veteran journeyman Curtis Sanford has moved up the Columbus goaltending depth chart.
Steve Mason backstopped the Jackets to their win last Wednesday over Washington, and he was also in goal for Columbus’ 4-1 win over Buffalo on Sunday night. Mason won’t be making the trip for Monday’s game in the District. The Jackets are bringing along Sanford and Paul Dainton to handle the twine-tending duties.