Vitek Vanecek Will Play Third Period vs. Hurricanes; Travis Boyd, Radko Gudas Will Slide Into Lineup: Capitals’ Exhibition Game Day News

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Head coach Todd Reirden told the media prior to the Washington Capitalsexhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Wednesday (4 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, NBCSN nationally) that goaltender Vitek Vanecek will back up Braden Holtby and will play the final period of the game. (Game notes here.)

The team also brought Pheonix Copley to the bubble for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Reirden thinks that Vanecek is “in a good spot” to be Holtby’s understudy this summer as Ilya Samsonov recovers from an undisclosed injury that will force him to miss the entire tournament.

With the Capitals able to dress an extra forward and defenseman against the Hurricanes, Travis Boyd and Radko Gudas will slide into the lineup. Boyd is expected to fill in for center Lars Eller when he leaves the bubble next week for the birth of his second child. The Capitals face the Philadelphia Flyers next Thursday in their second round-robin tournament game.

On whether the Capitals will follow other teams in terms of standing up against social injustice, Reirden said “Our team has really used their platform as professional athletes to stand up for the things they believe in. I expect today to be nothing different. I know we will do something as a team.” He has yet to talk to the Capitals’ players about it, but it is something that will be discussed when the team gets to Scotiabank Arena for Wednesday’s game.

Lars Eller
The Great Dane chatted with Mike Vogel earlier in the day on Wednesday.

First Game Back
The Capitals game against the Hurricanes preludes Washington’s Round Robin play that begins on Aug. 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today’s game marks the Capitals first game since March 9 against the Buffalo Sabres, a span of 143 days, and the first time in franchise history the Capitals have played a game in the month of July. In addition, it marks the earliest game – including preseason, regular season and the playoffs – in franchise history. Previously, the earliest game the Capitals had played was on Sept. 12, 1989 when the Capitals faced Farjestad BK in Karlstad, Sweden (7-4 loss). (More here.)

By Harrison Brown

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Game day! 🙌

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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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