Laviolette Changes Capitals’ Lines And Power Play Unit; Vanecek Will Start Tonight: News From Morning Skate

The Capitals and Penguins wrap-up their two-game set tonight at Capital One Arena, with puck drop scheduled for just after 7:00 PM. This is the sixth of eight meetings with the Penguins so far this season (1-1-3).  Here’s the latest news and notes from morning skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.


Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette juggled the lines once again Thursday morning, moving Evgeny Kuznetsov and Conor Sheary up to the top line with Alex Ovechkin, and moving Nicklas Backstrom up to center the second line with Jakub Vrana and Tom Wilson. Lars Eller returned to center the third line with Richard Panik and TJ Oshie.

Vitek Vanecek will get the start in goal tonight for the Capitals.

Power play
Laviolette also made one change to the Capitals power play units, replacing Lars Eller with Conor Sheary on the second power play unit.

PP1: Carlson, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Vrana, Oshie.

PP2: Orlov, Schultz, Kuznetsov, Sheary, Wilson.

Sheary replaces Eller on PP2.

TJ OShie

Nic Dowd

Peter Laviolette


The following chart shows each players points per game (PPG) and +/- PPG for all situations. Minimum 50 minutes TOI.

Points per game and Points per minute of ice time at 5-on-5


  • Evgeny Kuznetsov (2g, 3a) leads the Capitals this season in points against the Penguins, while Conor Sheary has scored a goal in each of his last two games against Pittsburgh.
  • Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 34 saves on Tuesday night in the overtime loss to the Penguins. Vanecek has recorded at least 30 saves in the game six times this season (Jan. 24 vs. Buffalo: 45 saves; Jan. 30 vs. Boston: 40 saves; Feb. 23 vs. Pittsburgh: 34 saves; Feb. 14 at Pittsburgh: 32 saves; Jan. 26 vs. NY Islanders: 32 saves; Jan. 15 at Buffalo: 30 saves), which is tied for the fourth-most in the NHL.
  • Vanecek has stopped 102 of the last 110 shots he has faced over the last four games, good for a .927 save percentage. He enters today’s game with a record of 7-4-3, only trailing Chicago’s Kevin Lankinen (8-3-3) for the most wins among rookies in the NHL.

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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1 Response to Laviolette Changes Capitals’ Lines And Power Play Unit; Vanecek Will Start Tonight: News From Morning Skate

  1. Novafyre says:

    I’d rather our goalie face the fewest number of sog. I’d rather he be sitting back there bored drinking an iced Dunkin than having to work his butt off.

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