Alex Ovechkin Will Not Play, Vitek Vanecek Set To Start In Goal Tonight Against Islanders: News From Capitals Morning Skate On The Island


The Washington Capitals made their way to Long Island on Wednesday in advance of their tilt with the Islanders tonight. The team will wrap-up their 2021-22 regular season schedule tomorrow night in Manhattan before shifting all of their focus to the first round of the playoffs.

Alex Ovechkin participated in morning skate, but did not participate in formal line rushes towards the end of the skate, and was ruled out for tonight. Laviolette said Ovechkin had a good day at practice, moved well, but it’s still too early to tell about tomorrow’s game against the Rangers.

Conor Sheary skated in Ovechkin’s spot on the top line. The lines and pairs for Capitals morning skate:

Vitek Vanecek will get the start in goal tonight against the Islanders. He is 20-11-0-6 with a  2.60 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 41 games played this season.

Carl Hagelin traveled with the team to New York, but did not participate in the team’s morning skate.

Playoff Scenario

The Capitals remain one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins have just one game remaining on Friday, while the Capitals have two games remaining.

If the Capitals can Leap-frog the Penguins in the final two games, they will face the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. If the Capitals remain in fourth place, they will face the Florida Panthers in the first round.

Rematch On The Island

The Capitals visit the New York Islanders at UBS Arena tonight for the fourth and final time this season. The Capitals have won two of the three games against the Islanders this season and each of their last three road games, dating back to April 22, 2021.

In addition, Washington has shutout New York three of the last six times. Vitek Vanecek recorded a 23-save shutout in the Capitals’ first matchup against the Islanders this season. In his career, Vanecek is 5-1-0 against the Islanders with two shutouts, a 1.74 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

The Capitals enter tonight’s game with a 25-8-6 road record, the highest road points percentage (.718) in the NHL and the second highest over the last five seasons, only behind the 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning (.756). Washington’s 3.54 goals per road game ranks fourth in the NHL, while their 2.74 allowed goals per game is the fifth lowest. The Capitals are the only team in the NHL to rank in the top-5 in both respective categories.

Blueline Performance

The Capitals blueline performance has been mixed but decent overall through 80 games of the regular season. Here are the goals against averages per 60 minutes of ice time for each of the Capitals defensemen.

 

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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4 Responses to Alex Ovechkin Will Not Play, Vitek Vanecek Set To Start In Goal Tonight Against Islanders: News From Capitals Morning Skate On The Island

  1. Marky says:

    Jon, you busy man right now…;)
    Glad to see AJF get a game here. Hope VV can be solid, Caps really need a real good game from a goalie.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does that mean Samsonov gets the start against the Rags? Does that mean he’s the #1 guy? I’m lost

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