News and Notes from Sunday’s Capitals Morning Skate at Pittsburgh: A Big Milestone for the Great Eight, An Update on T.J. Oshie, and Who’s in Goal?

DZtWwrfVQAEhZZ0.jpg-largePhoto: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals are in Pittsburgh on Easter Sunday with no intentions of hunting for eggs. Instead, they’re hunting for Penguins! With a narrow three-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, the Caps look to take care of business tonight and over the final three games to secure home ice advantage for the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Tonight’s contest against the Penguins will mark a special milestone for Alex Ovechkin. In the morning, the team held a morning skate at PPG Paints Arena. After T.J. Oshie was listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury, was he on the ice at the skate? Who will get the Penguins tonight in goal? We have all the answers for you in today’s report.

T.J. OSHIE NEWS
T.J Oshe was on the ice for the morning skate after he exited Friday night’s game with a lower-body injury. Oshie was taking rushes in his familiar spot on the second line alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky. Barry Trotz confirmed that Oshie will play tonight.

THE MORNING LINES

NEWS
Shane Gersich was pranked this morning in light of April Fools Day as the visor of his helmet was colored in with a sharpie.

There were no changes to the forward lines and the only big change on defense came on the third pairing. Jakub Jerabek was in for Christian Djoos alongside Brooks Orpik.

Philipp Grubauer was in the starter’s net and will face the Penguins tonight. Braden Holtby will get the Blues on Monday night. Grubauer has been the man in between the pipes for many of Alex Ovechkin’s milestones: his 400th goal, 484th goal (to become the top-scoring Russian), 500th goal, 600th goal and now 1,000th game. Speaking of milestones, Grubauer has one of his own as this will be his 100th game played.

Trotz explained to reporters his reasoning behind starting Grubauer tonight,”Really staying with the plan of getting both our goalies ready for the playoffs. Philipp hasn’t had a start here. I think it’s a good opportunity. He’s played well, and Holts is in tomorrow.”

Tonight’s game will be big opportunity for the Capitals to show the world that they’re primed and ready for the playoff grind ahead. If they can beat the Penguins tonight in regulation, the Capitals will clinch the Metropolitan Division for the third straight season.

AN OVECHKIN MILESTONE
Alex Ovechkin will play in his 1,000th game tonight. For more on this impressive feat click here.

SHAVINGS

  • The Capitals are 96-99-16-9 all-time against the Penguins.
  • The Capitals have won nine of their last 11 games (9-2-0) dating back to March 10, outscoring opponents 40-29 in that span.
  • Lars Eller played in his 600th career game on March 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • In 76 games, John Carlson has 15 goals and 50 assists, all single-season highs. His 50 assists mark the eighth time a Capitals defenseman has reached the mark.
  • In 51 games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Ovechkin has 56 points (33 goals, 23 assists), leading all NHL players in goals and points against the Penguins.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 18 career games against the Penguins.
  • Ovechkin will become the first player in franchise history to play in 1,000 games.
  • Ovechkin leads the NHL with 45 goals and is trying to reach the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his career.

INTERVIEWS

GAME NOTES

CAPS TODAY

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

By Michael Marzzacco

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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