Alex Ovechkin Fully Participates, Conor Sheary Elevated To Top Line (Again), Tom Wilson Dropped To Second Line: News From Capitals First Postseason Practice

After a day off on Saturday, the Washington Capitals returned to MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Sunday for their first workout of the postseason. The team will practice again Monday morning (10:30 AM) before departing for south Florida in advance of their first-round series opener with the Panthers on Tuesday.

Alex Ovechkin, who missed the final two games of the Capitals regular season, was once again a participant at this morning’s practice.

Ovechkin (upper body) said he feels good and he could have played in the final three games of the regular season if they were postseason games. They weren’t — so they wanted to be cautious.

Forward line combinations were once again in flux Sunday morning as Conor Sheary returned to the top line and Tom Wilson moved down to the second line. On the left side, all wingers dropped a line with the addition of Ovechkin.

The Capitals will look to maximize their time on the power play in the Panthers series, as the Cats had the 16th ranked penalty kill in the league this season. Power play units at the first practice:

The Capitals announced Sunday morning that they have recalled goaltender Zach Fucale from AHL Hersey.

Panthers At A Glance

The Capitals will look to defeat the Presidents’ Trophy-winning team in Round One of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Former members of the dissolved Southeast Division from 1998-2013, Washington holds an all-time record of 67-43-9-12 against Florida.

This season, the Capitals went 1-1-1 against the Panthers. All three games were decided by one goal with Washington winning 4-3 on Nov. 26 at Capital One Arena, dropping a 5-4 decision in overtime on Nov. 4 in Florida and losing 5-4 on Nov. 30 in Florida.

Caps captain Alex Ovechkin led the team with six points (4g, 2a) in three games against the Panthers this season, including a hat trick on Nov. 26 in Washington.

Playoff Run

The Capitals’ run of eight consecutive playoff appearances – the second-longest in franchise history behind a stretch of 14 straight from 1983 to 1996 – includes a Stanley Cup win in 2018 and is the second-longest active stretch.

Despite finishing the season with 288-man games lost due to injuries, the Caps finished with a 44-26-12 record and reached the 100-point mark for the sixth time in the last eight seasons. Washington is the only team in the NHL that has collected 100 points six times during that span.

The Dynamic Duo

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who between them own the Capitals records for career playoff goals, assists, points and games played, are expected to extend their shared franchise benchmark for most years in the postseason to 14. They are two of 14 active players with at least 100 career playoff points, and one of four sets of current teammates in the playoffs (also Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh; Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry, Tampa Bay; Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Boston). Ovechkin has 71 career playoff goals (141 games) – the most among active players and one back of tying Esa Tikkanen (72 in 186 games) and Patrick Marleau (72 in 195 games) for 14th place in NHL history.

Ovechkin is also tied for ninth place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs record books with 27 power-play goals, trailing only Evgeni Malkin (28) among active players. Meanwhile, Backstrom sits at 72 career playoff assists (133 games), five shy of cracking the NHL’s top-50 in career playoff assists.

Scenes From Practice

On This Day

From The Other Side

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 Fully Participates, Conor Sheary Elevated To Top Line (Again), Tom Wilson Dropped To Second Line: News From Capitals First Postseason Practice

  1. Anonymous says:

    Common disarray- just the way we like it. Caps in 6.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s all in the plan. He anthers have no idea who will be in goal, or what our lines will be

  2. Anonymous says:

    That Ovi goal is often overlooked.

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