The Washington Capitals held a morning skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena tonight, which can be seen on NBC Sports Network beginning at 8 PM. Here is all of the news leading up to the game:
Defenseman Brooks Orpik skated with the team for the first time since suffering a knee injury, which has kept him out for the past 22 games. He underwent surgery on November 20 and was estimated to be out for 4-6 weeks. Head coach Todd Reirden said that Orpik, 38, will most likely return after the NHL’s holiday break. The Capitals first game after the holiday break is December 27 at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Reirden says Orpik wil not return until after Christmas
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) December 19, 2018
Forwards Andre Burakovsky, who has been a healthy scratch the past three games, and forward Chandler Stephenson, who has been scratched for two of the past three games, will each sit out again tonight.
Forward Tom Wilson will face the Penguins for the first time since Game 3 of the Second Round series between the two teams, where he hit forward Zach Aston-Reese up high and broke his jaw, which forced him to miss the rest of the series, and was suspended for the rest of the series afterwards. He spoke about facing Pittsburgh for the first time since after practice.
After many questions about Capitals-Penguins rivalry, Tom Wilson finally delivers: “They don’t like us, we don’t like them. There’s your quote.”
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) December 19, 2018
Capitals Lines vs. Penguins
Caps’ expected lineup vs. Pens
Burakovsky, Stephenson and Lewington will be the scratches.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) December 19, 2018
Penguins Lines at Capitals
Penguins at morning skate:
Looks like Hornqvist (upper body) will return
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) December 19, 2018
Forward Patric Hornqvist was a full participant and skated on Pittsburgh’s top power-play unit at the Penguins‘ morning skate and it appears that he will return against the Capitals after missing the past six games with an upper-body injury. Coach Mike Sullivan called him “a game-time decision.” Forward Dominik Simon, who has missed the past seven games with a lower-body injury, skated with the Penguins in their morning skate but did not take line rushes, indicating he will be out against the Capitals.
-Coming into tonight’s game, captain Alex Ovechkin is riding a personal-best and a season-high 14 game point streak (17 goals, 23 points – previously: 13 games, Dec. 30, 2006 through Feb. 1, 2007, 20 points); The Capitals’ franchise record for most consecutive games with a point is 17, twice accomplished by Mike Gartner (Feb. 25, 1981 through April 2, 1981: 24 points; Oct. 11, 1984 through Nov. 21, 1984: eight goals, 20 points).
-Center Evgeny Kuznetsov extended his assist streak (nine) to a team-high eight games in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win against the Buffalo Sabres; he is now one game shy of tying the franchise record set by both Bengt Gustafsson (1985-86) and Dave Christian (1986-87) for most consecutive games with an assist
-the Capitals are 12-2-0 in their last 14 games and have recorded at least three goals in 14 straight games for the first time since Jan. 5, 2010 through March 4, 2010 (23 games); The team’s current 14 game streak is the second-longest streak since 1993
-In 54 games against the Penguins, Ovechkin has 58 points (35 goals), leading all active NHL players in goals and points against the Penguins; center Nicklas Backstrom has 49 points (42 assists) in 44 games against Pittsburgh, the most assists among active players against the Penguins
-The Capitals hold a 4- 0-0 record when they are featured on NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Hockey and are 5-1-0 overall on Wednesdays, the most wins they have on any single day of the week this season
CAPS TODAY: Alex Ovechkin, who has 58 points (35g, 23a) in 54 games against Pittsburgh, looks to increase his point streak to a career best 15 games tonight. More information on https://t.co/HecIC0ECg1 pic.twitter.com/i7mN2CzyI1
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 19, 2018
By Harrison Brown