Nicklas Backstrom Practices, Lars Eller Is Out; TJ Oshie Practices At Center: News From Morning Skate

The Washington Capitals were back to work Thursday morning to finalize preparations for their next tilt with the Islanders. Washington holds a record of 7-4-0 in their last 11 games against New York. They conclude their two-game set tonight at Capital One Arena with puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m.

The big news this morning was the status of Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller, who both sustained injuries in Tuesday night’s game 3-2 win over the Islanders. Backstrom participated in today’s morning skate and should be good to go tonight. Lars Eller did not practice this morning. He is listed as day to day.

Tom Wilson once again participated in practice. He has missed the last two games due to a lower body injury he sustained against Buffalo. Brian Pinho did not practice, but did workout this morning.

With centers Kuznetsov, Eller and Pinho out, Laviolette has had to juggle his lines, considerably.

TJ Oshie practiced at center on the second line. He took a couple shifts at center at the end of the game on Tuesday and takes faceoffs regularly on PP.

It looks like Vitek Vanecek will get the start between the pipes again tonight. The Capitals power play units in this morning’s skate:

PP1: Schultz, Carlson, Backstrom, Oshie, Vrana
PP2: Chara, Sprong, Panik, Sgarbossa, Wilson.

Peter Laviolette
Laviolette met with media following morning skate. He discussed his decision to go with TJ Oshie at center on the second line tonight.

Nicklas Backstrom
Backstrom, sporting a new shiner, also met with the media this morning. He said that he had some tough breaks in the last game. More here.

TJ Oshie
Oshie also met with the media following the team’s morning skate. He was asked about playing center in tonight’s game. More here.


  • Justin Schultz scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal against the New York Islanders on Tuesday with 27 second remaining in the game. It marked the latest goal the Capitals have scored in regulation this season.
  • Schultz’s goal was his first game-winner since March 5, 2018 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he scored the overtime goal against the Calgary Flames.
  • Schultz has two consecutive multi-point games (2g, 2a). That marks his first time recording two consecutive multi-point games since Nov. 25 through Nov. 27, 2017 with the Pittsburgh Penguins (4a).
  • Schultz has recorded 37 multi-point games in his career. Over his previous five seasons with Pittsburgh, Schultz’s 113 points (22g, 91a) ranked second among Penguins defensemen, despite ranking fourth in games played (234).
  • Schultz’s best offensive season came in 2016-17, where he set career highs in goals (12), assists (39) and points (51), tying for seventh in both goals and points that season among all NHL defensemen.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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