The Washington Capitals conclude their 2021-22 regular season schedule tonight against the Rangers in New York City. The team did not hold a gameday morning skate following Thursday night’s 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette met with the media when the team arrived at Madison Square Garden this afternoon. He said that captain Alex Ovechkin will not play.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (upper body) is OUT tonight against the Rangers, per Laviolette. Ovechkin missing his third straight game due to injury.
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) April 29, 2022
Ovechkin skated this morning and had another good day, but just isn’t ready for tonight. He is still dealing with the upper-body injury. Laviolette said it is not precautionary that he is out tonight.
Nicklas Backstrom (body maintenance) is also OUT tonight against the Rangers, per Laviolette.
FWIW, With Ilya Samsonov slated to get the start tonight against the #NYR, he will have started 5 of the 6 games played against the #TimeToHunt and #NYR this season. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/hP92wm1OEy
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) April 29, 2022
Ilya Samsonov will get the start in goal tonight. With the start, Samsonov will have started 5 of 6 games the Capitals played against the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers this season – the Capitals two potential first-round matchups.
The Capitals will need a win of any kind and a Penguins loss in regulation to leapfrog the Penguins and finish third in the Metropolitan Division. If that should occur the Capitals would face the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs beginning early next week. Otherwise the Capitals will face the Florida Panthers in the first round.
The Rangers will rest their number one netminder Igor Shesterkin tonight and go with Alexandar Georgiev in goal.
Alexandar Georgiev starts tonight for the Rangers. Gerard Gallant said goalie coach Benoit Allaire said it’s better for Igor Shesterkin’s playoff prep to sit tonight. Then he knocked on the table so it’s definitely precautionary too.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 29, 2022
The Rangers have begun resting players for the playoffs. On Wednesday they started resting certain players and will rotate out additional players tonight against the Capitals.
NYR: Andrew Copp (lower) and Artemi Panarin (upper) won’t play tonight. Gerard Gallant said most, if not all, of the guys who sat Wednesday will be in, and that list includes Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 29, 2022
Washington has split the season series (1-1-0) with New York with both teams winning on home ice. The Capitals have earned points in 15 of their last 21 games against the Rangers (13-6-2).
Caps forward T.J. Oshie is expected to play in his 900th career game. It will mark Oshie’s 457th game with the Capitals after appearing in 443 games with the St. Louis Blues. Since he joined Washington in the 2015-16 season, Oshie ranks fifth on the Capitals with 324 points (161g, 163a) and seventh in the NHL among right wings with 161 goals.
The 2021-22 season featured six Caps players who set new career highs for points in a season (Tom Wilson: 52 points; Dmitry Orlov: 35 points; Garnet Hathway: 26 points; Nic Dowd: 24 points; Nick Jensen and Johan Larsson: 21 points) and 11 rookies who made their NHL debut – the most since 2013-14 campaign.
Nine rookies scored their first career goal (Hendrix Lapierre, Martin Fehervary, Connor McMichael, Brett Leason, Garrett Pilon, Aliaksei Protas, Beck Malenstyn, Joe Snively and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby). That marks the third time in franchise history the Capitals have had at least nine rookies score their first career goal in the same season (1981-82: 10 rookie scorers; 1979-80: 9 rookie scorers).
hotel ➡️ rink pic.twitter.com/n62qYQiCKW
— x – Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 29, 2022
Down On The Farm
The Washington Capitals announced Friday afternoon the signing of goaltender Garin Bjorklund to a three-year, $843,000 per season entry-level deal. The Capitals selected Bjorklund, 19, in the sixth round with the 179th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Bjorklund signed an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with the Hershey Bears immediately following the conclusion of his WHL season with the Medicine Hat Tigers on April 20. He was released from his ATO with the Bears earlier this week.
Bjorklund is the second goaltender signed by the Capitals this spring. The Capitals announced on March 28 the signing of college free agent Clay Stevenson to a three-year entry level contract. He joined Hershey on an ATO on April 7 and remains with the team.