Capitals Daily Report: Latest on Alzner, Recalls, Game 5 Prep, and More!

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The Capitals will return to action on their home ice tonight for Game 5 after splitting the road trip in Toronto. With the series even at two games apiece, the best of seven has turned into a best of three. To prepare for Game 5, the Capitals held a morning skate and the whole team participated, however there was one recall from Hershey despite the Bears beginning their playoff run tonight. Puck drop is at 7 PM. 

MORNING SKATE
The Capitals recalled Chandler Stephenson from Hershey this morning and many Caps on Twitter were wondering who was hurt this time. The common argument was there had to be some reasoning behind it with the Bears beginning the Calder Cup playoffs tonight.

Evgeny Kuznetsov came out early before practice along with T.J. Oshie and Dmitry Orlov.

Karl Alzner also practiced with the team and took rushes with Taylor Chorney. This was his first skate with the team since his upper-body injury.

All four centers were present on the ice.

Tom Wilson remained on the third line.

Here’s how the rest of the lines looked today: Forwards Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie, Johansson-Kuznetsov-Williams, Burakovsky-Eller-Wilson, Winnik-Beagle-Connolly. Defense Schmidt-Carlson, Orlov-Niskanen, Orpik-Shattenkirk. Braden Holtby will get the start in goal tonight. Trotz confirmed after practice that Alzner is ruled out for Game 5, however he is getting closer to recovery. He was limited in drills, but he was taking the scratch’s skate.

Chandler Stephenson and Paul Carey also remained out on the ice.

Trotz also said following the skate that the Stephenson recall was all apart of the plan. No forwards are injured.

“We just felt that we needed two (extra) forwards. We wanted him to have some time in Hershey… more positional based than anything,” said Trotz.

Alex Ovechkin talked about Game 5 and what the atmosphere could be like.

“We’re going to be playing at home. The crowd is going to help push us forward,” said Ovechkin.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The Maple Leafs line combinations and defensive pairs are the same as they were for Game 4

Forwards
Komarov-Kadri-Brown
Martin-Boyle-Kapanen
JvR-Bozak-Marner
Hyman-Matthews-Nylander

Defense
Rielly-Hunwick
Gardiner-Zaitsev
Marincin-Carrick

Babcock pointed out that he was considering a tweak to the lineup, but decided to stay the course.

SCENES FROM KETTLER

For more photos from the morning skate, click here.

SHAVINGS

  • Braden Holtby made 30 saves on Wednesday at Toronto, marking his 27th career postseason game with 30 or more saves.
  • The Capitals have won three consecutive Game 5s when the series is tied at 2-2 (2012 ECQF vs. Boston, 2013 ECQF vs. NYR, 2015 ECQF vs. NYI).
  • Holtby has registered a 1.65 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage in seven career Game 5s.
  • Alex Ovechkin has earned 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 12 career Game 5s.
  • Ovechkin has scored two power play goals this series and ranks tied for second in the NHL in power play goals this postseason.
  • Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie each scored two goals in Game 4 at Toronto. Wilson and Oshie are the first pair of teammates to score two goals in the same playoff game since Alex Ovechkin (two goals, one assist) and Mike Knuble (two goals) on April 21, 2010 at Montreal. (Elias Sports Bureau)
  • The Capitals 169 hits this postseason is good enough for a third place ranking in the NHL.

DAILY LINKS
Game Notes vs. Toronto, 4/21/17 (Capitals PR)
Caps And Leafs Tangle in Critical Game 5 on Friday (Mike Vogel)
The story of the Capitals fans who taunted Maple Leaf square (Scott Allen/DC Sports Bog)

INTERVIEWS
Alex Ovechkin

Barry Trotz

Rinkside Update: Andre Burakovsky

By Michael Marzzacco

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