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Kolzig In, Erskine Out, Lepisto Up

With defenseman John Erskine hurting, the Capitals have recalled prospect Sami Lepisto, who'll be in the lineup tonight against the Thrashers. The 23-year-old has 3 goals and 37 assists for the Bears and will be paired with Milan Jurcina.

Meantime, the team won't say what's wrong with Erskine, but his injury was likely caused by Eric Godard's right jab. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's day-to-day.

Olie Kolzig, if you read my article in this morning's Post, did not skate today, which means he'll be between the pipes for the second straight game tonight.

Chris Clark and Michael Nylander, however, were on the ice. Clark went all out and afterward said he feels good. Nylander, meantime, stick-handled on his own and skated hard, but did not take any shots. He told me that he's ahead of schedule, though he won't be back anytime soon.

Ilya Kovachuk scored a hat trick last night to help the Thrashers rally for a 6-4 win over Calgary. With 48 goals, Kovalchuk is now eight goals behind Alex Ovechkin in the race for the Richard.

Just in case you've forgotten the importance of tonight's game, click here for the standings. That ought to refresh your memory.

Here's the lineup:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Cooke-Fedorov-Semin
Fleischmann-Laich-Fehr
Brashear-Gordon-Bradley

Defense
Morrisonn-Green
Poti-Schultz
Jurcina-Lepisto

Some other tidbits from the morning skate:

Boudreau explained the decision to call up Lepisto this way: "He's played well in Hershey, but more important, he's a left handed defenseman. It's no slight intended against [Steve Eminger]. But we wanted a left handed defenseman, because Schultz and Poti have been playing so well together, we didn't want to break them up."

As for going back to Kolzig, Boudreau said: "Olie has played well against Atlanta. A lot of these things [come down to matchups]. That's why Huet will play on Sunday against Boston."

Update:Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for Atlanta.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 14, 2008; 10:14 AM ET
 
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