WASHINGTON -- The Canes and Capitals will play six times this season and tonight's game is the first between the two Southeast Division rivals.
Question: could the winner tonight set the tone in the division?
"Yes," the Canes' Ryan Bayda said today. "Every time you play these guys it's a big game. It's a game within the division and they're all important points. It would definitely be nice to come out and set the tone in the series."
Tuomo Ruutu, on the other hand, takes more of a dissenting view on it being a "statement" kind of game.
"Whether we win this game or lose this game, I don't think it will matter the next time we play," the winger said. "Everybody is going to forget this game after it's over.
"I don't think it's about setting the tone. I think it's one game and that's it."
The Canes do have a four-point lead over the Caps and Lightning. Adding to it, Canes coach Peter Laviolette, is the main thing tonight.
"It's a division game and they're right there behind us, so I think it's important to make sure it's not a four-point swing in the wrong way," Laviolette said. "Any time you've got games like that, they're important."