Dylan Strome And Conor Sheary Remain On Top Line With Alex Ovechkin: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate In ‘Smashville’

The Washington Capitals made their way to Nashville, Tennessee following their 2-0 loss to the Stars Thursday night in Dallas. After a day off in Music City on Friday, the team returned to work Saturday morning for a final workout prior to their tilt with the Predators tonight. Puck drop tonight set for just after 8PM ET.


Capitals’ head coach Peter Laviolette stayed with the line and pairs from Thursday night in Dallas. The Capitals lines and pairs at morning skate via Samantha Pell/Washington post:

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Marcus Johansson — Evgeny Kuznetsov — T.J. Oshie
Aliaksei Protas — Lars Eller — Anthony Mantha
Beck Malenstyn — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Dmitry Orlov — John Carlson
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Connor McMichael, Matt Irwin, and Joe Snively

The Capitals continue their three-game road trip tonight when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena for the first of two meetings between the teams this season. Washington is 15-15-1-2 all-time vs. Nashville.

In 2021-22, Washington swept the season series with Nashville 2-0-0, outscoring the Predators 9-4. John Carlson led the Capitals with five points (1g, 4a) in two games against the Predators last season.

The Capitals defeated the Predators 4-1 during Washington’s last visit to Nashville on Feb. 15, 2022, with captain Alex Ovechkin and head coach Peter Laviolette each reaching individual milestones.

Ovechkin reached the 30-goal mark for the 16th time in his career with a two-goal performance, marking the second-most 30-goal seasons in NHL history. Should Ovechkin score 30 goals this season, he would tie former Capital Mike Gartner (17) for the most 30-goal seasons by a player in League history.

Laviolette earned his 700th career win with the Capitals’ 4-1 victory in last year’s visit, becoming the 10th coach in NHL history to reach the 700-win mark and simultaneously tying Mike Babcock for ninth on the all-time wins list. (More here.)


The Washington Capitals are 31st in the league in faceoff winning percentage at 41.3%. In today’s stat of the day, we look at the individual faceoff winning percentages for each of the Capitals forwards who take a majority of the faceoffs.

So how do these numbers compare to each players historical faceoff winning percentages? The following graph presents the end of season winning percentages for each of the Capitals faceoff “specialists” listed above for last season.

Marcus Johansson is more than 20 percentage points below last season’s average and Nic Dowd is more than 10 percentage points below last seasons final average. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller are down around 5% from last season, while Conor Sheary and T.J. Oshie are down, only slightly.

However, It should be noted, that compared to last season, overall the Capitals arent that much worse. Last season they finished 30th in the league at 47.1%


  • Philadelphia injuries: Center Sean Couturier underwent back revision surgery and will require three to four months of recovery. Winger James van Riemsdyk also had surgery on his left index finger and will miss six weeks.


Capitals first round draft pick Alex Alexeyev made his regular season debut last night in Hartford. No goals, points or standout play, but it was good to see him back on the ice.

Capitals goaltending prospect Mitchell Gibson and Harvard played in their season opener last night. Gibson stopped 15 of 17 in the 5-2 win over Dartmouth and turned in this beauty of a save:

Defenseman Lucas Johansen played in his 200th AHL game in Hartford last night, and recorded one of the two Bears goals in the 4-2 loss.

The Bears return to action tonight when they host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Giant Center. Puck drop is set for 7PM.

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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10 Responses to Dylan Strome And Conor Sheary Remain On Top Line With Alex Ovechkin: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate In ‘Smashville’

  1. novafyre says:

    Any guess on goalie? I would assume Darcy.

    “overall the Capitals arent that much worse.” As a former teacher, I can assure you that the idea is to get better.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      No formal confirmation on starting netminder. I update this post throughout the day, so if Caps confirm, it will be posted here.

      Yep, improvement at the dot would be nice. But I’m about to give up hoping. It’s been bottom of the barrel since Beags left.

      What did you teach, Fyre?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Anonymous says:

    We will never be good at faceoffs again.

    • steven says:

      With this group you are probably right. Faceoffs are a thing of pride that gets no glory and for the most part that speaks worlds about Kuzy. I wonder do they practice faceoffs? However if they do as there are no real good faceoff men on the Caps it may be pointless.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        They brought in a player/coach recently (last season?) Michael Peca. He helped raise the averages but is no longer with the team. They may need to do that again.

        There is a great debate on how important faceoffs really are. Some analysis have concluded there are no direction correlations to winning hockey games, and some even surmise there is no direct correlation to scoring more goals.

        Interesting topic.

        • steven says:

          I agree it is interesting. Where I see the faceoff being most important to win is on the PP. You want possession so that the other team does not eat up valuable time on the clock. Wonder what the stats are on winning the faceoff and winning the overtime 5 Minute period?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good to see Alexeyev back on the ice. Hopefully he’s ready to make a final push in DC. I don’t think he will clear waivers to return to Hershey.

    • steven says:

      He wont clear waivers, so leave him in Hershey as long as possible. Now if the do bring him up who goes McMichael or Irwin? I say McMichael as he needs to play not sit in the skybox and eat nachos. And since you have to keep AA you might as well cut Irwin or see if he can pass waivers and go to Hershey.

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