Anthony Mantha Possible To Return, Vitek Vanecek Will Start, Zach Fucale Will Backup Tonight Against Hurricanes: News From Capitals Optional Morning Skate


The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate this morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. They host the Eastern Conference-leading Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00PM on ESPN+ and Hulu.

The team recalled goaltender Zach Fucale Thursday morning. Ilya Samsonov, who left practice early on Wednesday, is out and Fucale will backup Vitek Vanecek tonight against the Hurricanes. Samsonov worked with goalie coach Scott Murray after practice.

Coach Laviolette would not commit to whether Anthony Mantha would start tonight. He said he needed to meet with him and the trainers.

Laviolette also said that Justin Schultz (upper body) is expected to play tonight against the Hurricanes.

Remaining Games And Strength Of Schedule

The Captain And Carolina

The Capitals face the Carolina Hurricanes tonight for the second time this season. Washington won the first matchup, 4-2, on Nov. 28, 2021 at PNC Arena. Alex Ovechkin has earned 96 points (44g, 52a) in 82 career games against the Hurricanes, marking the most points he has earned against a single franchise. No active player has more goals, assists and points against the Hurricanes than Ovechkin, and his 44 goals only trail Michel Goulet (62g) and Dave Andreychuk (52) for the most against the franchise in NHL history.

John Carlson

John Carlson, who among active defensemen has the most points against the Carolina Hurricanes (8g, 27a, 35p), recorded three assists on Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It marked his second three assist game of the season (Dec. 29 vs. Nashville) and 11th of his career.

Carlson is one of 13 defensemen this season with multiple three-assist games. Carlson has recorded points in six of his last eight games (1g, 8a) and is currently eighth in the NHL in points (43) among defensemen. Since Feb. 1, Carlson’s 10 points (1g, 9a) are tied for fourth among defensemen in the NHL.

Vitek Vanecek

Vitek Vanecek enters tonight’s game with a record of 2-2-0, a shutout, a 1.33 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage in his last five outings.

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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7 Responses to Anthony Mantha Possible To Return, Vitek Vanecek Will Start, Zach Fucale Will Backup Tonight Against Hurricanes: News From Capitals Optional Morning Skate

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. steven says:

    The Caps have a tough road to hoe the rest of the way. Sitting in 4th place and both the Rangers and Carolina have games in hand. And it looks like the Jackets are making a move and they have 1 game in hand. If the PP was bettter I wonder how many of our 18 losses and 9 OTL would ahve been wins. Shame about tonights game that many wont get to see if all for the greed of the owners. To be expected in sports but it is sad when money comes before letting your fans see a game.

  3. Nhock2 says:

    ESPN, ESPN+, HULU, etc have the worst broadcast teams in hockey. They are pathetic. ESPN has done nothing to bring new fans to the NHL, and have driven away fans who would normally want to tune in. All you need to do is watch one broadcast and you will be sick to your stomach.
    And then there is the “pay to watch” ESPN+, that makes the whole ESPN collaboration with the NHL awful.
    What does this have to do with tonights game? Nothing.
    Will I watch tonight on ESPN+? Hell no. Will you?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      That last game on ESPN (Caps_Rangers) was maybe the worst produced game I’ve ever seen. Scripted focus on Reaves and Wilson from the start, constant discussion of Reaves and the Rangers. I understand they need to play to the bigger audience a little bit, but you just don’t completely turnoff the other team.

  4. Jon Sorensen says:

  5. Nhock2 says:

    Yes, I could not agree more… That Rangers/Capitals broadcast was in ridiculously poor taste.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I watch all games in silence. No sound. Politics coming thru the television has ruined sports. Can no longer watch football, basketball, nor baseball. I won’t allow it to ruin my beloved hockey. It was a shame to have to watch the rainbow crap, but I surely didn’t listen to it. (Not the point of what you think of it- it has no business in sports) I just wish to enjoy watching competition of a game of hockey. Nothing else!

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