The Washington Capitals held one final practice Thursday morning before they depart for St. Louis this afternoon in advance of their tilt with the Blues on Friday night.
Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Dmitry Orlov all returned to practice on Thursday. Backstrom and Oshie had been sidelined due to illness (non-COVID). Orlov missed practice on Wednesday after leaving practice early on Tuesday.
Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette said after practice that Orlov should be available for Friday’s game against the Blues. He wasn’t as sure about Oshie and Backstrom, as it was their first practice all week. Laviolette was unsure if either would travel on the two-game road trip.
Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson did not participate in Thursday’s practice. They all took maintenance days. Carl Hagelin also took a “maintenance day” on Thursday.
Capitals say Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Carlson all are taking maintenance days today. https://t.co/yCcilgVDLl
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) January 6, 2022
The Capitals announced Thursday morning that they have re-assigned goaltender Hunter Shepard from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) to the Capitals’ taxi squad.
Tom Wilson is expected to play in his 600th game tomorrow night against the St. Louis Blues. At 27 years and 284 days old, Wilson will become the fifth-youngest player to reach the milestone in franchise history and the third-youngest forward, behind Mike Gartner (27 years, 109 days) and Alex Ovechkin (27 years, 220 days). Among his 2012 NHL Draft class, Wilson will become the second player to reach the mark, joining Toronto’s Morgan Rielly (604 games).
This season, Wilson has recorded 24 points (9g, 15a) in 30 games and is on pace for the highest points per game total (0.80) and on pace to eclipse the 50-point mark for the first time in his career. Since 2017-18, Wilson has scored a goal on 14.6% of his shots (79 goals on 542 shots), which is tied for the second-highest shooting percentage among Capitals with at least 200 games played during that span (T.J. Oshie: 17.8%; Ovechkin: 14.6%).
Wilson is on the ballot for the 2022 NHL All Star Game in Las Vegas on Feb. 5 along with Ovechkin, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The 2022 NHL All-Star Fan Vote remains open through Saturday atNHL.com/Vote and via the NHL app.
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By Jon Sorensen