News and Notes from Saturday’s Morning Skate at Kettler: A Bottom Six Switch and Andre Burakovsky Continues his Rehab

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After dropping a tough game to the Kings on Thursday night, the Capitals look to deliver a win Saturday night in front of their home fans. Tonight’s game is an important one  in the Metropolitan Division standings as the first-place Columbus Blue Jackets come to town. Washington trails Columbus by six points. 

Prior to the game, the Capitals held a morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Here are the news and the notes direct from the rink.

THE MORNING LINES

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson
Vrana-Kuznetsov-Oshie
Stephenson-Eller-Connolly
DSP-Beagle-Chiasson
Orlov-Niskanen
Orpik-Carlson
Djoos-Bowey

NEWS
Brett Connolly returns to the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch the last two games. He was skating along with the third line with Lars Eller and Chandler Stephenson. For Stephenson, he moves up to the third line while Devante Smith-Pelly moves down to the fourth.

Tonight’s goaltending matchup will be a battle between the last two Vezina Trophy winners as Braden Holtby goes up against Sergei Bobrovsky.

INJURY UPDATES
Burakovsky wasn’t on the ice skating prior to the morning skate. Trotz mentioned yesterday that his thumb is getting better. He should return to game action in the next 2-3 weeks. Burakovsky did however come on the ice at the conclusion of the morning skate to continue his rehab.

He continued to work with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish. He skated around, caught passes and even shot on a goalie.

MORNING SKATE VIDEO
Both goalies, Chandler Stephenson, Madison Bowey and Tyler Graovac were the first players on the ice this morning.

Gearing up for his third line promotion, Stephenson was working on some puck deflections before the rest of the players came out to skate. Peep the Hershey connection, as Bowey was feeding him the puck

Then it was on to full-rink rushes. John Carlson scores a goal on Philipp Grubauer here.

Morning skates are typically relaxed but with Washington coming off a loss and a big matchup tonight against the first-place Blue Jackets things got real intense. The team went from the full rink to 2-on-1 drills.

Then it was on to the power play drills. Here’s the top unit at work.

The defenders worked on snapshots, slapshots, and one-timers.

While the forwards did some give-n-go’s on the other side.

While the forwards were hard at work, Jay Beagle was alone in the neutral zone working on faceoffs with assistant coach Blaine Forsythe.

In addition, Beagle worked on his puck handling and stick handling.

SHAVINGS

  • Tonight is the first of four meetings between the Capitals and the Blue Jackets this season. The Capitals are 3-1-1 in their lsat five home games against the Blue Jackets and hold a 10-2-1-2 record all-time at Capital One Arena.
  • On this date 20 years ago, Capital One Arena (then known as the MCI Center) opened it’s doors for the first time. The Capitals made their first ever Stanley Cup Finals appearance that season.
  • Against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, the Jakub Vrana-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie lline scored two goals while primarily playing against Los Angles Kings defensemen Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin. Vrana and Oshie finished with 16 on-ice shot attempts at five-on-five against Doughty, while only allowing three (84.2 shot attempts percentage), while Kuznetsov finished with 15 for and 3 against (83.3 percent).
  • Dmitry Orlov has recorded four points in his last six games (1 goal, 3 assists), including an assist against the Kings on Thursday night.
  • The Capitals have earned a point in nine of their last 10 games against the Blue Jackets (7-1-2) and in 18 of their last 22 games against Columbus (14-4-4).
  • Since Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin have rejoined together as linemates on Nov. 22, Ovechkin has five goals with Backstrom recording an assist on four of the five.
  • Jakub Vrana has recorded four points in his last five games (2 goals, 2 assists).
  • John Carlson has recorded five assists in the last eight games.

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

SCENES FROM KETTLER

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Alex Chiasson looks on as the full rink work takes place.

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The team concludes stretching. They look ready for this big tilt tonight.

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The kids love Jakub Vrana!

Puck drop tonight from Capital One Arena is at 7 PM. The Capitals will be off on Sunday and then get back to work Monday as they’ll hold a morning skate at 10:15 a.m. before welcoming the San Jose Sharks that evening.

By Michael Marzzacco

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About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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2 Responses to News and Notes from Saturday’s Morning Skate at Kettler: A Bottom Six Switch and Andre Burakovsky Continues his Rehab

  1. Pingback: News and Notes from Monday’s Capitals Morning Skate: A Hershey Standout Makes His NHL Debut Tonight, Plus Latest on Andre Burakovsky | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Andre Burakovsky’s Road to Recovery | NoVa Caps

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