Connor McMichael, Matt Irwin Return To Lineup, Darcy Kuemper Expected To Start: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate In Carolina

The Capitals made their way to North Carolina on Saturday night following their 3-0 win over the Predators in Nashville. The team had the day off on Sunday and returned to work Monday morning in Raleigh. They conclude their four-game set of road games tonight against the Hurricanes. Puck drop is set for 7PM.


The Capitals announced Monday morning that forward T.J. Oshie will be out “indefinitely” and defenseman John Carlson is listed “day to day”, and will not play tonight in Raleigh.

As a result, Connor McMichael returned to the lineup on the right side in place of Oshie and defenseman Matt Irwin made his first appearance on the blueline: [Lines via Samantha Pell/Washington Post]

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Marcus Johansson — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Connor McMichael
Aliaksei Protas — Lars Eller — Anthony Mantha
Beck Malenstyn — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Dmitry Orlov — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Matt Irwin

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Joe Snively

Trevor van Riemsdyk was elevated to the top defensive pair in place of John Carlson. Matt Irwin replaced van Riemsdyk on the right side of the third pairing.


The Capitals conclude their three-game road trip tonight when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena for the first of three meetings between the teams this season. Washington is 9-2-1 in their last 12 games against the Hurricanes dating back to the 2018-19 season. (Preview here.)

The Capitals have won three-straight games at Carolina and have a record of 5-1-0 in their last six games at PNC Arena. In 2021-22, Washington won the season series with Carolina 3-1-0.


It looks like Frederik Andersen will get the start in goal tonight for the Hurricanes.

Derek Stepan and Calvin de Haan also returned to the ice this morning for the Canes.


The Capitals have killed off 15 straight opposing power plays and all 13 power plays over their last four games, including all five of Nashville’s power play opportunities on Saturday. [More here]

During the four-game stretch, which began on Oct. 22 vs. Los Angeles, Washington has allowed 17 totals shots against while shorthanded, for an average of 1.31 shots against per power play.



Goals saved above expected (GA – xGA) is a good stat to judge how well a goaltender is defending against quality scoring chances.

The Capitals tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren is currently ranked 7th in the league, with 5.3 more expected goals against versus actual goals against.


There was a decent dust-up in the waning moments of the Bears 4-1 win over rival Lehigh Valley on Sunday night.

Things got very chippy towards the end of the game. A Phantoms player swung his stick  between the legs of Bears netminder Zach Fucale prior to the dust-up between McIlrath and Bellerive. [More here.]

Capitals forward prospect Jake Karabela scored his third goal of the season Sunday night against North Bay Battalion.


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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16 Responses to Connor McMichael, Matt Irwin Return To Lineup, Darcy Kuemper Expected To Start: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate In Carolina

  1. novafyre says:

    When last did MCM play right wing?

    • Anonymous says:

      Good question.

    • Rob says:

      Maybe he should line up at Center and move Kuz to the wing. The Centers on this team suck at faceoffs. 4 guys with 100 or more faceoffs taken and they all range between 39-43% at the dot. Barf.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not a bad idea. Kuzy needs inspiration. He responds very well when messages like that are sent.

      • Anonymous says:

        Great idea except Mcmichael is also terrible at face offs……

        • Rob says:

          He’s probably the only one who can still improve. Strome was 52% last year and below 40% this year. Dowd is down 10%, Eller is down 6.5%, Kuznetsov is down 4.5%. I don’t think it’s a problem that can be ignored all season. Something has to change.

      • steven says:

        I like that idea. Also they could move Eller to wing and let CMM play his natural position so that it aids in his development. Why hinder his development just to keep playing Eller who will not be here next year and might even be traded by the deadline!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Irwin is serviceable. McMichael on the right side will be an intriguing watch.

  3. Anonamouse says:

    was there any indication on who will be wearing “A”s this morning?

  4. Lance says:

    Whats the Over/Under for McMichael’s time on ice? 8 minutes? Whatever it is I’m taking the under with Lavi behind the bench.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I like Mac on the wing. Just saying. Less responsibility, let him focus on fewer things right now.

  6. Jon Sorensen says:

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