Notes from Capitals’ Sunday Morning Skate: Let’s Keep on Rollin’

Photo: @Capitals

The Capitals welcome Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers tonight at Capital One Arena. Prior to tonight’s big Sunday night tilt, the Caps held a morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex

Since the calendar flipped to November, Washington has won four of their last five games and will look to make it two in a row after a complete 60-minute beatdown on Friday night over their arch nemesis Penguins. Here are the news and the notes direct from the rink to prepare you for tonight’s game.

MORNING SKATE NOTES
Brett Connolly was the first skater out on the ice, along with both goaltenders. He was then joined by Tyler Graovac and Chandler Stephenson.

Connolly was skating on the fourth line at the left wing spot, alongside Jay Beagle and Alex Chiasson, and had a ton of energy at the skate. Here he is on a breakaway. Connolly won’t be on the second power play unit just yet. Alex Chiasson was practicing in his spot but he should get that role back soon as he re-adjusts to game action.

For the second day in a row, Matt Niskanen was out on the ice sporting the traditional navy blue defensemen jersey. There was a big difference: yesterday’s practice was an optional skate, while today’s skate was the real-deal with the full squad out there.

He has come a long way. After he injured his upper-body on Friday the 13th in New Jersey, Niskanen was placed on long-term injured reserve. He slowly started rehabbing on the ice alone prior to practices and morning skates. Earlier in the week, he was practicing while wearing a non-contact jersey. Today was his first full day with the whole team, indicating a positive sign that he will return very soon. While it won’t be tonight, it could come this week.

A couple of drills went on. Here’s some passing work after scooping the puck up in transition.

Towards the tail-end of practice, the forwards and the defense worked on their shots. Backup goalie, Philipp Grubauer had to face those forward shots.

After Grubauer clocked out for the morning, the forwards worked on their one-timers.

On the other side of the ice, Jakub Vrana was dishing the puck out to his fellow defensemen.

As the skate wrapped up Niskanen remained on the ice, facing forwards Nathan Walker and Graovac in a fierce puck battle.

Barry Trotz gave an update on Niskanen following the skate.

THE MORNING LINES

Stephenson-Backstrom-Oshie
Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-DSP
Vrana-Eller-Wilson
Connolly-Beagle-Chiasson
Djoos-Carlson
Orpik-Bowey
Orlov-Chorney
Extras: Niskanen, Ness
Starting goalie: Holtby

FROM THE OTHER SIDE
The Oilers (6-9-1) are taking part in the final game of their four-game road trip tonight in DC. They opened this trip with back-to-back overtime wins, defeating the Islanders and the Devils. Yesterday they fell to the New York Rangers 4-2. Typically the visiting team holds a morning skate at Capital One Arena but with Georegetown having a home game the team held a morning skate at Kettler. The scratches came out.

SHAVINGS

  • The Capitals won the first matchup this season against the Oilers 5-2 on Oct. 28 at Rogers Place. Washington is 37-29-6-1 all-time against the Oilers including 6-2-1 over the last nine meetings.
  • Alex Ovechkin has registered 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 15 career games against the Oilers.
  • With an assist against the Penguins Friday night, Ovechkin is on a four game point streak with three goals and one assist.
  • Braden Holtby made 27 saves against the Penguins Friday to win his ninth game of the season and his 200th of his career.
  • Washington is 5-0-1 when they score first.
  • The Capitals have posted a 14-6-0 record against Canadian teams over the last two seasons.
  • John Carlson and Christian Djoos have played together for 64.5 minutes at five-on-five. When the two are paired together, they’ve generated 71 shot attempts and allowed 47 against, 60.17 shot attempt percentage at five-on-five.

By Michael Marzzacco

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1 Response to Notes from Capitals’ Sunday Morning Skate: Let’s Keep on Rollin’

  1. Anonymous says:

    I see the Oilers, Hawks and Yotes, maybe even the Habs making a deal soon… they should before firing the coach…

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