Dmitry Orlov Returns, Vitek Vanecek Set To Start Tonight Against Canadiens: News From Capitals Morning Skate In Montreal

The Washington Capitals made their way to Montreal Thursday night following their 7-3 loss to the Maple Leafs in Toronto. The team held an optional practice on Friday and their usual game-day morning skate Saturday morning at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Here’s the latest from north of the border.

Dmitry Orlov (lower body) took line rushes this morning, indicating he could return tonight against the Canadiens. Laviolette said following the team’s skate that Orlov might return tonight, “We’re hoping.” Here are the lines at morning skate:

Vitek Vanecek was in the starters net. It looks like Connor McMichael, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Matt Irwin will be the scratches for tonight.

Chasing The Birds

The Capitals continue to chase the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals are five points behind the Penguins with two games in hand.

The Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin due to his suspension for their next two games, both against the Bruins, and will also be without their number one netminder, Tristan Jarry, who is now listed as “week-to-week”.

Canadiens Finale

The Capitals face the Montreal Canadiens tonight for the third and final time this season. The Capitals have won the two previous meetings (6-3 on November 24 at Capital One Arena; 5-2 on February 10 at Bell Centre).

The Capitals have earned points in 18 of their last 19 games at Bell Centre (16-1-2), a span that began on Nov. 28, 2009. Excluding the Seattle Kraken, that is the highest points percentage (.895) of any team against Montreal at Bell Centre since 2009-10.

Faceoff Winning Percentages

The Capitals have struggled with faceoffs for most of the season. Here are the individual winning percentages to date: [Click to enlarge].

John Carlson

John Carlson (15g, 51a) continued his best offensive stretch of the season with a goal and an assist last night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He extended his point streak to five games (4g, 7a), a run that includes four multi-point games and marks his third five-game point streak of the season. With his tally in the second period, Carlson reached the 15-goal mark for the third time in his career, and he’s now one goal shy of setting a personal mark.

With his 51 assists this season, Carlson became the first defenseman in franchise history to record three seasons with 15 goals and 50 assists (also 2017-18: 15g, 53a; 2019-20: 15g, 60a). He’s one of 14 defensemen in NHL history to record three 15 goal and 50 assist seasons in his career and one of two active players (Erik Karlsson: 4 seasons from 2011 to 2017).

Mighty Martin

Martin Fehervary has three goals in his last five games and eight goals on the season. He is the sixth rookie defenseman in franchise history to score eight goals in a season and the first since Ken Klee scored eight in 1995-96. Fehevary has scored on 9.1% of his shots this season, the second-highest percentage in franchise history among rookies with eight goals (Klee: 10.5%). Fehervary’s eight goals rank first in the NHL among rookie defensemen this season and his 15 points (8g, 7a) rank sixth.

Fehervary has registered 223 hits this season, which leads the Capitals and marks a franchise record for a rookie. Fehervary’s 223 hits rank 12th in the NHL among all skaters, while his 30 hits in six games since April 1 first rank fourth in the NHL.

Road Work

The Capitals face the Canadiens tonight and then make their way west to Colorado for the start of their final three road games of the five-game road trip.

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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