Vitek Vanecek Gets The Start In Goal, Lars Eller Will Not Play Tonight: News From Capitals Morning Skate

The Capitals and Rangers kickoff a back-to-back set tonight at Capital One Arena. The Capitals will look to notch their first win of the season against the Rangers, after going 0-2 in the first two meetings.

Washington enters the game in first place in the East Division (19-6-4) and will look to extend a six-game winning streak. Puck drop tonight is set for just after 7:00 PM.

Here’s the latest news from morning skate Friday morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.


The Capitals morning skate was optional this morning.

Coach Laviolette confirmed that Vitek Vanecek will get the start in goal tonight. He is 12-5-0-3 with a 2.74 GAA and a .908 save percentage in 21 starts so far this season.

Lars Eller skated again this morning, but will not play tonight. Eller has missed the last two games. He left in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Flyers with a right leg injury.

Laviolette confirmed the Capitals will go with 11 forwards and seven defensmen again tonight.

Alexandar Georgiev will be in net for New York on Friday. He is 5-4-0-2 with a 3.01 GAA and a .897 save percentage in 12 games started.


Wilson met with the media on Friday. He has one more game (tonight) remaining on his seven-game suspension.



Here are the remaining games for each of the East Division teams and the resultant strength of schedule (SOS) for each team. (Click to enlarge)


  • Evgeny Kuznetsov enters today’s game on a team-high five-game point streak (1g, 5a), three games shy of his career best, which he accomplished twice, most recently from Nov. 30-Dec. 15, 2018 (10a).
  • Kuznetsov became the 18th player in franchise history to reach the 400th point plateau on Monday against Buffalo, and the seventh player to reach the mark before his 500th game.


Coach Laviolette


  • The Capitals have scored the game’s first goal in five-straight games and are 5-0-0 in those games.
  • Washington is 13-3-2 this season when they score the game’s first goal and is undefeated in regulation in one-goal games at 9-0-4.

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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6 Responses to Vitek Vanecek Gets The Start In Goal, Lars Eller Will Not Play Tonight: News From Capitals Morning Skate

  1. GR in 430 says:

    Given that 6 of the 8 teams in the division are pretty solid and can beat anybody in the league on a given night, the “strength of schedule” really comes down to “How many games left with the Sabres and Devils”. Therefore, I think you’re better off simplifying things by just tracking games left against those 2 teams and adding those points to the other 6 teams’ totals. Figured that way, the Pens, with 13 games left against the bottom dwellers, have 14 points that they are likely to gain on the Caps who only have 6 games left with the bad teams. Given that reality the Caps’ current 5-pt lead on the Pens looks pretty shaky…

    • Anonymous says:

      The Sabres and Devils are good enough to burn you if you go into those games thinking it’s an automatic win.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Agree with you on that. It’s statistically more likely that it will be a mix of those games and how teams do against the mid-range teams. Nothing is given, but Penguins have an easier schedule down the stretch.

      • GR in 430 says:

        The Devils can, but shouldn’t, beat a team with Cup aspirations. The Sabres right now? If they beat anybody in the top six then shame on their opponent…

        That said, I agree nothing is given, and every team in contention needs to be ready every game, because this is going to be REALLY tight and tough down the stretch. A couple “tired” games could be the difference.

  2. Marky says:

    I don’t know if Caps fans are afraid of the Pens or just hate them, but I say bring them on! Should not be afraid and I bet the Caps players are certainly not afraid to face them in a series…

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