Evgeny Kuznetsov In, Brendan Leipsic Out; Brenden Dillon To Start With John Carlson – Canadiens at Capitals Pregame Notebook

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov will return against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally or NBCSN nationally) after missing the Washington Capitals’ three-game road trip with a lower-body injury. He will play in his normal spot on the second-line. With Kuznetsov returning, forward Brendan Leipsic will come out of the lineup and forward Travis Boyd will drop from the third to the fourth-line.

Defenseman Brendan Dillon, who was acquired from the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 conditional third, will make his Capitals debut on Thursday and play on the top-pairing with John Carlson. Michal Kempny bumped down to the third pairing with Radko Gudas and Jonas Siegenthaler will draw out of the lineup.

Dillon also took Siegenthaler’s spot on the first penalty-killing unit with Gudas. Siegenthaler leads the Capitals with an average of 3:06 per game on the penalty kill, which ranks fourth in the NHL with an 83.9% efficiency.

Goaltender Braden Holtby will make his fourth straight start and sixth straight appearance against the Canadiens. Excluding an appearance against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 8 where he allowed seven goals on 25 shots, the 30-year-old has allowed only 10 goals on 135 shots (.926 save percentage) during that stretch.

Goaltender Carey Price will start in net for the Canadiens on Thursday.

Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said that it is more likely than not that forward Brendan Gallagher, who missed their 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings due to a lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision tonight.

Canadiens defenseman Victor Mete will miss tonight’s game after blocking a shot with his foot against the Red Wings. Julien said that the x-ray is negative, but Mete will need further evaluation when the team returns to Montreal.

Forward Paul Byron, who has not played since the Canadiens’ last visit to Washington on November 15 due to a knee injury, will return for the Canadiens.

Out of town, the New Jersey Devils will hold out goaltender Louis Domingue, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, against the Sharks tonight and put him on waivers this afternoon. The NHL Trade Deadline is on Monday at 3 PM ET.

Capitals’ Lines vs. Canadiens

Canadiens’ Lines at Capitals

Capitals Today

By Harrison Brown

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About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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