WASHINGTON — A day after a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in their season opener, the Canes will make just one lineup change for the Washington Capitals.
Canes coach Paul Maurice said Brian Boucher would start in goal tonight. Maurice had hinted that Boucher, who signed a free-agent contract in July, might be in line for an early game.
Maurice said Cam Ward, who faced 34 shots in the opener, "wants to play every game" but that he wanted to get Boucher in tonight and play Ward on Monday against New Jersey.
"It's a function of how our schedule works and it also means Cam's going to run the next few games," Maurice said. "This was the opportunity (for Boucher). It was either going to be here or in New Jersey.
"Brian looked good in his last exhibition game (in Winnipeg)."
Maurice said he would not make any changes in the lines or in the defensive pairings tonight, noting the Canes had their share of offensive chances Friday even though Jeff Skinner scored the only goal.
"I was really happy with the pairings. The D played well," he said.
Maurice noted that Skinner scored in the first period by driving the puck hard to the net, but later turned it over on a similar play in the second as the Bolts tied the score on a goal by Marty St. Louis.
"If you're playing against the third line and you turn the puck over at the offensive line, seven out of 10 times it doesn't go in your net and you go back to the bench, coach yells at you and away you go," Maurice said. "But we also don't want Jeff Skinner dumping the puck every time he touches it. We want him to make those plays. He got two more great chances after it.
"And then it was time and place and an awareness that we were changing our defense there. ... Jeff was feeling good and wanted to try it, but it was one-on-three and it was a learning experience for him."
With assistant coach Dave Lewis attending his daughter's wedding this weekend, Maurice said assistant Tom Barrasso was running the defense, just as he did the last three preseason games.
"I liked the minutes. I thought he did a great job handling guys," Maurice said.
While the Caps are playing their opener tonight, Maurice said the Canes' challenges in game two are the same as against the Lightning -- the Caps have great skill and firepower that must be contained, and the Canes must stay out of the penalty box. Tampa Bay scored two power-play goals.
"We must control this team off the rush and stay out of the box," he said. "We did the first part exceptionally well last game until it got to be 3-1. But the penalties were our downfall."
Jussi Jokinen had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the second period that resulted in Tampa Bay's 5-on-3. Vinny Lecavalier scored to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead.
"He does not have a history of that," Maurice said of Jokinen's fit of anger. "We have not had a lot and we're not going to have a lot by our team."