Head Coach Peter Laviolette On Capitals’ Preseason: “Those Last Two Games At Home Will Be Heavy-Handed With Our Guys And Prior To That, It’ll Be Mixed”

Photo: Joe Noyes/NoVa Caps

On Saturday, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette spoke to the media following the third day of training camp. He discussed roster expectations for the preseason, which begins Sunday when the Capitals host the Buffalo Sabres (2 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, NHL Network nationally).

The team continued new looks with line combinations today, which saw left-wing Anthony Mantha appearing on the top line with captain Alex Ovechkin and center Evgeny Kuznetsov. “We’re going to try different guys there and so that will be in practice. That will be in exhibition games,” Laviolette said. “[Mantha] can play both wings. He can play both sides, so we’ll take a look at it and different combinations.”

There hasn’t been much of a focus on special teams during camp. Laviolette said “there’s not going to be a lot of those guys out there anyway” during preseason matchups. “We’ll do our best to get them information. We’ve been doing that in the first few days, trying to get some offense down, trying to get some defense down…they’ll be specialty teams for sure. Our coaches will work at that and try to give some information. We’ll handle like we do a normal game. We’ll try to give some pre-scout information, some power-play information, some penalty kill information and prepare these guys, so that they—or try to be on the same page as we enter that first game.”

Laviolette mentioned that we can expect to see the veteran players make preseason debuts towards the end of the schedule, similarly to last year. “Those last two games at home will be heavy-handed with our guys and prior to that, it’ll be mixed,” he said. “Tomorrow will be a fairly young lineup.”

The full lineup for Sunday’s preseason opener will be released later on Saturday. Neither one of goaltenders Darcy Kuemper nor Charlie Lindgren will be in net, as confirmed by Laviolette. He noted “it depends on the experience” of the AHL goaltenders that will decide “what we’re looking for,” adding, “You get a couple of young guys who are equal, you might split the game. If you get somebody that you think has more experience, you might give them the nod for two periods.”

On defenseman Lucas Johansen, Laviolette said the 24-year-old “had a great year” with the Hershey Bears. “He got called up and did a good job for us when we used him. He’s a guy who’s vying for a spot here and so like I said every day there’ll be a couple of different guys in and out of our practice…guys that we just want to see with our group or guys who are working to compete for a spot, so that doesn’t mean you have to be in our group to compete for a spot, but these are the guys who have a little bit of a history with us.”

“Last year he played a really steady game. I thought [Johansen] defended well. He moved the puck. He made a good first pass…just a really steady two-way game.” Laviolette finished by saying Johansen will “get an opportunity to show what he can do.”

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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1 Response to Head Coach Peter Laviolette On Capitals’ Preseason: “Those Last Two Games At Home Will Be Heavy-Handed With Our Guys And Prior To That, It’ll Be Mixed”

  1. Novafyre says:

    The Sabres are probably playing a lot of new people and possibly new schemes, so Lavi won’t have too much info on the Sabres to give to the guys. Lightning’s Cooper last year or year before said that this was a major issue when so many opposing players were out due to COVID restrictions — Coop didn’t have good info on the young replacements and neither did his players. So the rookies’ lack of NHL experience was somewhat offset by the opposition’s lack of knowledge of them.

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