News and Notes from Friday’s Capitals Optional Morning Skate: Bring on Shattenkirk and the Rangers, Plus the Latest News on T.J. Oshie

braden-holtby-capitals-morning-skate.jpg

The Capitals wrap up their season-long five-game homestand tonight against their Metropolitan Division rivals, the New York Rangers. It is a four-way tie for second place in the Metro Division and the Capitals trail the Devils for first place by just a single point. The Rangers are three points behind the Capitals. Here are the news and the notes from the optional morning skate, which the Capitals held Friday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz had some interesting words to say about former Capital Kevin Shattenkirk after yesterday’s practice. Shattenkirk was brought on board last season after the trade deadline as the missing piece to a Stanley Cup contending Capitals team. Things didn’t go as planned, as the Caps bowed out to the Penguins in the second round once again and Shattenkirk didn’t quite live up to the expectations. Shattenkirk joined the Rangers during free agency, signing a four-year $26.6 million deal.

“I think everybody thought of him as a 1-2, and he really wasn’t. He was a little lower,” Trotz said.

Shattenkirk wasn’t pleased with those comments by his ex-coach.

Tonight is sure to be an interesting one between the two rivals and this exchange certainly will add fuel to the fire. Anyway, on to the morning skate.

MORNING LINES
Today’s morning skate was an optional skate, but here’s how the lines looked in yesterday’s practice. This will likely be the projected lineup for tonight.

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

NEWS
Braden Holtby will get the start in goal tonight. He will go up against Henrik Lundqvist so tonight is sure to be an epic goalie match. Andre Burakovsky will play in his first game since Oct. 21 and he’ll be on the third line alongside Brett Connolly and Lars Eller. He spoke to the media following the optional.

INJURY UPDATES
There was no sign of T.J. Oshie on the ice for the optional skate but he did continue his off-ice conditioning. Oshie will miss his second straight game with an upper-body injury from Monday night and is still listed as day-to-day.

SHAVINGS

  • Washington is 100-90-18-6 all-time against the New York Rangers and 54-40-9-4 all-time at home.
  • Tom Wilson recorded his first career four-point game (2 goals, 2 assists) against the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 6. Wilson now has two goals and seven assists in his last 12 games and 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) through 24 games this season.
  • Alex Ovechkin registred a four point (1 goal, 3 assists) game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. That marked the 23rd time in his career that Ovechkin has recorded four points in a game, the second-most in the NHL since the 2005-06 season.
  • Since November, the Capitals are 12-5-0, a stretch that is good for a 116-point pace over the course of a full regular season.
  • The Capitals have converted four of their last 11 power plays (36.4 percent) over the last three games and have at least one power play goal in each of their last three games.
  • Andre Burakovsky is scheduled to return against the New York Rangers after missing the last 20 games with an upper-body injury. Burakovsky has a goal and three assists in nine games this season.
  • Ovechkin has recorded 45 points (29 goals, 16 assists) in 48 career games against the New York Rangers and has scored a goal in five of his last eight games against New York (6 goals).
  • In addition, Ovechkin has cored 22 career goals against Henrik Lundqvist, marking the most goals he has scored against a goaltender in his career.

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Puck drop from Capital One Arena is at 7 p.m. The Capitals are off tomorrow and will return to Kettler on Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. for practice.

By Michael Marzzacco

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A post shared by NoVa Caps (@nova_caps) on

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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