Aliaksei Protas Expected To Start Season Opener: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

The Capitals held their first game day morning skate of the 2022-23 season Wednesday morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. They will pop the top to their 48th NHL campaign tonight when they host the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7PM on TNT.

The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs at morning skate were the same as yesterday:

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Connor Brown
Aliaksei Protas – Dylan Strome – Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson – Lars Eller – T.J. Oshie
Connor Sheary – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Connor McMichael, Joe Snively, Matt Irwin

Darcy Kuemper is expected to make his regular season debut in goal for the Capitals. Kuemper was 37-12-4, with a .921 save percentage, a 2.54 goals-against average and five shutouts in 57 games last season.

Worth noting, Kuemper is 1-6-0 with a .894 save percentage and a 3.03 goals-against average in seven career games vs. BOS (including 1-1-0, .896 save percentage, 3.97 goals-against average last season). For those wondering, Kuemper has a better career record against the Toronto Maple Leafs, tomorrow night’s opponent (3-2, .909 sv%, 2.50 GAA, 1 SO).

Aliaksei Protas is expected to get the start tonight. Protas is a 6’6”, 235 lb left-handed forward, drafted by the Washington Capitals in the third round (#91 overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The 21-year-old Belarusian spent the last two seasons playing for Dinamo Minsk in the KHL, the Hershey Bears in the AHL and 33 games with the Capitals last season. He also played for the Belarus national team last spring in the World Championship.

Protas signed a three-year entry-level contract for $825,833 AAV on July 10, 2019 and had two entry-level “slide” seasons. He will a restricted free agent at the end of the 2024-25 season.

RELATED: Aliaksei Protas: 2022 Annual Review And Forecast

From The Other Side

The Bruins won two out of three meetings last season, with the Capitals taking the final one by a score of 4-2 in Washington on April 10.

The Bruins have yet to officially announce who will get the start in goal:

Linus Ullmark, 29: 26-10-2, .917 save percentage, 2.45 goals-against average, one shutout in 41 games last season and 4-5-1, .892 save percentage, 2.96 goals-against average in 10 career games vs. WSH (2-1-0, .886 save percentage, 3.03 goals-against average in 2021-22)

Jeremy Swayman, 23: 23-14-3, .914 save percentage, 2.41 goals-against average, three shutouts in 41 games and 1-1-0, .938 save percentage, 2.00 goals-against average in two games vs. WSH in 2020-21.

The Bruins expected lineup:

Taylor Hall — Patrice Bergeron — Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
A.J. Greer — Charlie Coyle — Craig Smith
Nick Foligno — Tomas Nosek — Jakub Lauko

Lindholm-Carlo
Forbort-Zboril
Reilly-Clifton

Ullmark
Swayman

Extras: LW Trent Frederic, C Jack Studnicka, D Anton Stralman

Head coach Jim Montgomery will make his Bruins debut behind the bench on Wednesday after the team fired former Capitals head coach Bruce Cassidy over the offseason.

Zacha will also wear the spoked B for the first time since the Bruins acquired him from the New Jersey Devils for center Erik Haula on July 13. Krejci played last season in the Czech league.

Brad Marchand (hip, out indefinitely), Charlie McAvoy (shoulder, out indefinitely) and Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder, out indefinitely) will all be out of the lineup tonight for the Bruins.

Openers

Washington is 24-19-2-2 (.553 point percentage) all time in season-opening games and 15-5-0-1 (.738 point percentage) in season-opening games at home. The Capitals’ .738 point percentage in season openers at home all-time is the fifth highest in the NHL.

Capitals Game Notes

By Jon Sorensen

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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13 Responses to Aliaksei Protas Expected To Start Season Opener: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate

  1. KimRB says:

    “Aliaksei Protas is expected to get the start tonight. Protas is a 6’6”, 210 lb left-handed forward, ”

    I believe he said he’s up to 235 lbs. now. The kid is gigantic, and uses his size and wingspan very well for a youngster. If he ever develops a hitting game…..ouch! Make him room with Fehervary on the road.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Go get ‘em Viper!

  3. novafyre says:

    Are you sure he’s old enough?

  4. Anonamouse says:

    Who gets the other “A” with Backy out? Oshie?

    • novafyre says:

      Do we have to have another A? Some teams have gone a full season without a C.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Haven’t heard anything official. If they do give it to another, gotta think Oshie’s gets it.

      • novafyre says:

        But when he plays the only way he knows how to play and gets injured, then who gets it? I love the guy, but he needs to adapt his style of play to age and health.

        I know, let’s give it to McM! Darn it, there I go getting snarky again.

        Seriously, Osh would be the only candidate. But if teams can go the year without a captain, do you really want to take the honor of an A from an injured player? Wouldn’t that be dissing Backy?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Give it to Mojo. (Obvious sarcasm)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good luck tonight, Viper!

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