Captain Alex Ovechkin will miss his seventh straight game due to a lower-body injury sustained in the final minutes of regulation during the Washington Capitals‘ 1-0 shootout win over the New York Islanders on April 22 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington). The 35-year-old skated before the team’s optional morning skate on Saturday. It marked the first time Ovechkin has been on the ice since Monday.
Laviolette wouldn’t put a timeframe on Ovechkin but noted that the #Caps‘ captain is indeed improving. “It’s good to see him out there. That’s always a positive sign; it’s the first steps. So that’s a good thing. …We’ll go slow and we’ll make sure.”
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) May 8, 2021
Goaltender Craig Anderson will make just his fourth appearance of the season on Saturday after Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Flyers. The 39-year-old has not played since April 15, when he played 24:44 in a 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Ilya Samsonov, who has missed the past three games, is still on COVID-19 protocol.
“It’s exciting for me to be called upon and go out there and do the job … enjoy that and take that opportunity and make the most of it.”
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 8, 2021
Defenseman Justin Schultz could return to the lineup after missing three games with a lower-body injury but head coach Peter Laviolette would not confirm whether he will.
The NHL sent out a memo on Friday night announcing that COVID-19 restrictions and protocols will be eased for vaccinated individuals for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The #NHL has relaxed its COVID-19 protocol for playoff teams that will allow for greater freedoms with regards to masks, testing, team meetings, social gatherings and travel – once 85 per cent of a team’s traveling party is fully vaccinated.
More coming in a story soon.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 8, 2021
The East Division title could be locked up on Saturday. Below are the scenarios for how the Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins could secure it:
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 8, 2021
CAPS TODAY: The Capitals are 13-6-0 in back-to-back games this season, 7-2-0 in the second half of the back-to-backs and 3-0-0 when they lose the first game of the set. More info on the Caps and Caps Clips at https://t.co/HecIC0ECg1 pic.twitter.com/XjPrqsIozd
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) May 8, 2021
By Harrison Brown