The Washington Capitals held a morning skate on Monday at PPG Paints Arena prior to Game 6. Entering this game with a 3-2 series lead, the Capitals look to close out the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight in enemy territory to punch their ticket to the third round of the playoffs since 1998. Here is how the Capitals are projected to line up before this huge game.
Here were the Capitals lines from the morning rushes:
John Carlson was on the ice for the morning skate. Nicklas Backstrom wasn’t skating. Backstrom left the third period of Game 5 with an upper-body injury and had a maintenance day on Sunday. Coach Barry Trotz said in his press conference that day that he expects Backstrom to play in Game 6.
There were a few changes to the lines on the forward side. Chandler Stephenson was on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Lars Eller moved up to the second line, centering that line with Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie. Travis Boyd was centering the third line with Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly. Nathan Walker was in Shane Gersich’s spot on the fourth line.
The Capitals were lose prior in Game 5’s morning skate and seemed loose on Monday morning as well. Here’s Alex Ovechkin skating laps around the ice. Video comes courtesy of Tarik El-Bashir of NBC Sports Washington.
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) May 7, 2018
If this is the lineup both Boyd and Walker will make their playoff debuts. Walker would play in his first NHL game since Dec. 18 when he was with the Edmonton Oilers. Walker told reporters that puck drop for tonight’s 7 p.m. game over here on the east coast of America is at 9 a.m. Australia-time.
Boyd said that he doesn’t know if he’s in the lineup or not but he prepared at the skate accordingly in case he’ll be in.
Ovechkin addressed the media and when he was asked about Backstrom he said, “I think he’s in, we’ll see.”
Trotz told the media after the skate that Backstrom will be a game-time decision. As far as whether Walker will play, Trotz said that he hasn’t decided on the lineup yet.
Trotz said Backstrom is a “game-time decision.” Asked about Nathan Walker, Trotz said he hasn’t decided on lineup yet.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 7, 2018
By Michael Marzzacco