Tonight’s rivalry match-up between Washington and Pittsburgh from CONSOL Energy Center is going to have a pair of key defensemen missing from both teams.
Pittsburgh’s Paul Martin will miss tonight’s game as he got a bit banged up in yesterday’s game against Chicago. Martin was shoved from behind while heading towards the end boards and collided with them in a rough way. Martin left the game briefly but returned to finish up the rest of the way. Giving him a day off to rest after playing yesterday afternoon isn’t the worst idea in the world and the Pens can certainly soldier on without him. Pittsburgh called up former Boston University defenseman Brian Strait from the AHL to take Martin’s place tonight which is especially needed since newly acquired defenseman Matt Niskanen won’t be in Pittsburgh in time to play tonight.
Washington will still be without Mike Green as he continues to struggle bouncing back from being struck in the head with a puck back on February 6. Green’s absence from the lineup for a fifth straight game hurts them offensively as without Green’s ability to shoot the puck from the point and help pinch in to assist the defense generate offense. Oddly enough while the Caps offensive numbers have fallen off this year compared to the previous seasons, the complaints about Green’s defensive inabilities have subsided. Funny how that works out.
If the Caps are going to bounce back in the race in the Southeast Division and catch Tampa Bay, they’ll need him back to do it. Luckily for them, Green is shaping up to be back in the lineup in time for their game Friday against the Rangers.