The Washington Capitals host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for just after 7:30PM on TNT. The team held their gameday morning skate at 10:30AM this morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
LINES AND PAIRS AT MORNING SKATE
There were no changes to lines and pairs at this morning’s skate. [Lines at morning skate courtesy of Matt Weyrich of NBC Sports Washington]
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Dylan Strome — Marcus Johansson
Anthony Mantha — Lars Eller — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Lucas Johansen — Matt Irwin
Darcy Kuemper was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, indicating he will like get the start in goal.
NOTE: Alex Alexeyev announced after morning skate that he will be playing tonight. It’s not 100% certain as to who will sit, as Alexeyev has been playing both sides in recent seasons. The Capitals will need to make a roster move to fit Alexeyev. It’s likely Connor McMichael, who is waivers-exempt, or Lucas Johansen, who has already cleared waivers this season could get sent down.
Extras: Connor McMichael, Joe Snively
Injuries: Tom Wilson (ACL), Nicklas Backstrom (hip), Carl Hagelin (hip), Connor Brown (ACL), T.J. Oshie (lower-body), John Carlson (lower-body), Beck Malenstyn (finger), and Dmitry Orlov.
The Capitals continue their season-long four-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena for the first of three meetings between the teams this season. Last season, Washington won the season series with Pittsburgh 3-1-0, outscoring the Penguins 18 to 11 in four games.
Capitals winger T.J. Oshie skated prior to the team’s morning skate. He has been out since sustaining a lower body injury in Nashville on November 29.
T.J. Oshie (lower body, on IR) is on the ice before Capitals’ morning skate vs PIT. Just working on his own. Good sign. He was injured in Nashville on Oct. 29. pic.twitter.com/d0evIhAfJo
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) November 9, 2022
John Carlson (lower-body) and Dmitry Orlov (lower-body) also skated ahead of Caps’ morning skate.
TOM WILSON AND NICKLAS BACKSTROM
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette was a guest on 106.7 The Fan this morning. He was asked about the status of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson.
“I can’t even give you an order of return because it’s not…I don’t even have the order of return yet,” said Laviolette. “It’s not like…one of them is seven days away and one of them is 21 days away, and I can say ‘oh, it looks like this guy’s gonna be up first.”
“They’re both been on the ice. Backy has been on the ice maybe a little longer than Tom, but that doesn’t mean anything. They’re just skating around right now. I think they’re just getting their edges. They’re feeling their edges out there, doin some pattern skating, where their body and their brain and everything’s in the same page, with regards to the edges in their skates, and what they were dealing with regards to their injuries,” said Laviolette.
”But the good news is that they are both feeling good, they are both out on the ice. Eventually, and again it hasn’t even been talked about, so I’m not trying to keep something from you – they’ll join us back in the practice. And that will be awesome. You start to see these bodies come back and that will be awesome.”
STROME ON THE RANGE
Dylan Strome recorded three points (2g, 1a) on Monday against Edmonton, marking his fourth multi-point game in 14 games this season and his 14th career game with three or more points. Strome’s four multi-point games lead the Capitals, and he ranks second on the team in assists (8), points (12) and power-play points (7).
Through 14 games, Strome is averaging 17:56 of ice time, which ranks third among Capitals forwards (Alex Ovechkin: 20:20; Evgeny Kuznetsov: 18:28). Prior to the start of this season, Strome had averaged 16:02 of ice time per game in his career.
STAT OF THE DAY – SHOTS FIRED
Today’s stat of the day takes a look at the Capitals shot differential per game average for the season. The stat is derived by subtracting the Capitals shots against average from the Capitals shots for per game average and plotted through the course of the season.
The Capitals shot differential continues to improve for the third-straight game and a season-low on November 1.
BONUS STAT – SPECIAL TEAMS INDEX
The following stat depicts the special teams index (PP% + PK%) for each team. The Capitals currently have the 6th best index in the NHL.
The following provides a break down of the power play and penalty kill rates for each team. [Click to enlarge]
Was there a shot heat map for the Oilers game?
There was, but it wasn’t very telling, so I left it out of the post game analysis:
Thanks. Oilers were more spread out than I thought.
Yeah, those heat maps need to be taken with a grain of salt, there is a lot of variability
ALOT of variability