The Washington Capitals wrapped up practices at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Monday. The team will travel to South Florida this afternoon in advance of Game 1 of their first-round series with the Panthers on Tuesday night.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette met with the media prior to the team’s departure Monday afternoon. He said the vibe on the team is good and the team is excited to get things going.
“Everybody is excited. It’s the best time of the year. You go through a pretty long, driving schedule. There’s a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows. You’re dealing with a lot of things. The whole objective of it is to put yourself in a position to compete for the Stanley Cup. So here we are. So guys are really excited about that.”
Laviolette said he doesn’t feel like an underdog in the series with the Panthers.
“I don’t think so. We’ve played hard against everybody. Whether it be Florida, we played three games, I thought two of them we played pretty well,” said Laviolette. “Whether it be Colorado or Pittsburgh or Carolina, the top teams that have shown themselves this year in the league, we’ve been able to do really well against. We’re excited to go play.”
Laviolette said that everything is progressing well with team captain Alex Ovechkin and his ability to play in Game 1. Ovechkin missed the last two games of the regular season with an upper body injury.
“I think everything is moving in the right direction. He had another no-limitation practice. There were no restrictions on him out there. You hope that tomorrow he wakes up and feels good and everything moves forward with that, that he’s a player. But he’s had two really good days.”
Laviolette said he won’t announce a starting goaltender until after Tuesday’s morning skate.