The Washington Capitals have shed the HBO cameras and look to make a statement on indoor NHL ice versus the Tampa Bay Lightning and the newly acquired Dwayne Roloson. The Capitals have outscored the Lightning 12-3 in their two previous meetings this season, but Guy Boucher’s crew is hot with a record of 8-1-1 over their last ten games.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals (7:00 PM ET)

The Dwayne Roloson era for Tampa Bay begins tonight. Contrary to popular belief, Dwayne Roloson is not ageless – he’s 41-years old. A season and a half on Long Island can drive an NHL player to hit the booze like a blogger, but Roloson appears to have kept himself together as of late. He’s a welcome addition to a team that’s had its share of struggles in goal, and Roloson has posted a victory in four of his last five starts with the Islanders.

The Lightning are also expected to receive another boost in the form of Steve Downie, who is ready to rejoin the club after missing a month with an ankle injury. Steven Stamkos has been on a bit of tear lately with 14-points in his last five games while Alex Ovechkin is on pace for a career low 29 goals.

The Capitals captured the glory of the Winter Classic on Saturday, all under the watchful eye of HBO. They’ll be looking to carry some of that momentum over to this evenings game, as they sit tied with Tampa Bay atop the Southeast Division. D.J. King and Matt Bradley are both out of the lineup for Washington, so if the Great 8 elects to get punchy with Downie then Matt Hendricks will have to rescue him.

Blog Battle Lines

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have reportedly reached a one-year agreement with Marc-Andre Bergeron [KuklasKorner]
  • David Steckel will not be disciplined by the NHL for Crosby “collision” [Capitals Insider]
  • Looking at Alex Ovechkin’s vanishing goal scoring prowess [Puck Daddy]
  • Dwayne Roloson will get the start in goal, but you already knew that [Lightning Strikes]
  • Eric Fehr hopes Winter Classic jumpstarts his scoring [Capitals Insider]
  • What to do with Tampa Bay’s crowded crease [Raw Charge]

Our Prediction: We keep thinking Alex Ovechkin is going to snap out of this goal scoring funk in a big way, perhaps an “Ovechtrick” is in order. We’re giving Washington the slight edge in this one, although, we bet Roloson has a good debut with Tampa Bay. With the momentum from the Winter Classic at their back and the absence of HBO, the Capitals come out of the gate looking like the powerhouse they were a season ago. For Washington, there’s no time like the present. Caps by a tight two goal margin, and Eric Fehr scores again.