Peter Laviolette Tweaks Defensive Pairings, Charlie Lindgren Expected To Start: Notes From Wednesday’s Morning Skate In Philadelphia

The Washington Capitals made their way from Edmonton, Alberta to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Tuesday in advance of their tilt with the Flyers Wednesday night. The team held morning skate at Wells Fargo Center in Philly Wednesday morning at 11AM.

Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette changed the bottom defensive pairings, moving Trevor van Reiemsdyk up with Nick Jensen in the second pairing and moving Matt Irwin down to the third pairing with Alex Alexeyev.

The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs at morning skate, as reported by The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir:

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

Erik Gustafsson — John Carlson
Trevor van Riemsdyk  — Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev — Matt Irwin

Charlie Lindgren
Hunter Shepard

Extras: Joe Snively, Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Injured: Connor Brown, Dmitry Orlov, Carl Hagelin, Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, Beck Malenstyn, Darcy Kuemper, Martin Fehervary.

Charlie Lindgren was the first netminder off the ice this morning, indicating he will likely get the start tonight.


The Capitals conclude their season-long six-game road trip tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. Wednesday’s contest marks the second of four meetings between the teams this season.

The Capitals overcame a one-goal deficit in the third period to defeat the Flyers 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 23 at Capital One Arena. Marcus Johansson and Sonny Milano scored in regulation for Washington, while Alex Ovechkin scored his 25th career overtime goal to give the Capitals the victory. The Capitals are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games at Wells Fargo Center. More here.


Today’s stat of the day simply subtracts expected goals against (xGA) from expected goals for (xGF) for each of the Capitals skaters after 27 games. (xGF – xGA). [Click to enlarge].

No real surprises from the assessment. Aliaksei Protas has always posted a good differential, even though he has an offensive zone shift start percentage of 33.70%l Anthony Mantha has been creating more scoring chances than the opposition when he is on the ice, but has been lacking in the “finishing” department.


Today’s bonus stat plots the Capitals xGF% for each game so far this season. It also provides the averages for the first nine games (44.93%), middle nine games (48.13%) and last nine games (53.37%) of the season.

The Capitals continue to improve in xGF% and have been well above 50% in the last nine games. This is a positive sign for long-term trends. You may recall that the Capitals have a much easier schedule in the second half of the season.

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary.]


Hendrix Lapierre scored his seventh goal of the season last night against the Charlotte Checkers.

Ivan Miroshnichenko was moved from 13th forward to 4th line for Tuesday’s game against Salavat Ufa, his second game in KHL. He logged 9:13 TOI, 2 SOG and 3 hits for the game. Miroshnichenko logged 4:28 in his first KHL game on Sunday, so they are increasing his minutes.

Ryan Hofer scored his 16th goal of the season Tuesday night in Everett’s 3-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars. Hofer, 20, now has 16g and 11a (27 points) in 25 games played. He’s shot the puck 118 times for a 13.6% shooting percentage.

Tween Sweden named their training camp roster for the upcoming 2023 World Juniors Championship starting at the end of December. Ludwig Persson and Alexander Suzdalev were not named to the roster.


We asked our followers on Twitter this week: Will the Capitals re-sign Peter Laviolette?:

The Capitals have killed off 54 of 64 power plays (84.4 percent) over their last 22 games, dating back to Oct. 22. During that span, Washington’s 84.4 penalty kill percentage ranks tied for first in the NHL. Through 27 games played this season, the Capitals’ 80.8 penalty kill percentage ranks tied for eighth in the NHL. [More here.]

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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23 Responses to Peter Laviolette Tweaks Defensive Pairings, Charlie Lindgren Expected To Start: Notes From Wednesday’s Morning Skate In Philadelphia

  1. Anonymous says:

    Gustafsson should be on first PP. He’s been better at setting up Ovi.

    • Anonymous says:

      yeah, Carlson has hurt Ovi….

      It is dumb comments like this from anonymous that ran Larry Murphy out of town on his way to the HOF.

      • Anonymous says:

        I appreciate you are a jersey donning fan of Carly, but if you haven’t seen his blunders in games, you haven’t been paying attention and I can’t help you.

        • WinstonSalemCapsFan says:

          Can we get off of the Carlson sucks bandwagon and acknowledge him for what he is? An offensively gifted d-man. Period.

          The objective of the power play is to score goals, not continue one-dimensionally forcing Ovi to score. When we have the sole goal of Ovi scoring on the power play, we typically suck. When we expand allow others to contribute offensively, we score. Carlson scores goals on the power play. End of story.

          • Jon Sorensen says:

            Capitals (probably all teams) always seem to have that one player that splits Caps fans.

            Carlson (Or Mantha) is the new Lars Eller who was the new Marcus Johansson who was the new Mike Green… etc. 🤷‍♂️

            • KimRB says:

              Right you are, Jon! I call him, whoever he may be, the whipping boy. Once upon a time, he was Mike Green, before that, Jeff Schultz….and so on.

              BTW Dallas fans had a whipping boy about 15 years ago, by the name of Matt Niskanen. He was a stud on our way to winning the Cup in 2018

            • Diane Doyle says:

              Around 2010, they had several whipping boys to choose from: Green, Schultz, and Semin. Once Semin was gone, they turned to MoJo as the whipping boy.

      • novafyre says:

        You are also posting as anonymous.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A win would make this a successful road trip. 7 out of 12 points.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Protas and Mantha need to finish on their chances.

  4. novafyre says:

    I think the Caps are missing a great opportunity by not letting Hunter get his feet wet against the Flyers. Would be useful for him and for the Caps goalie coach. Just like Miro now in his second KHL game. And am a bit surprised at that — he appears to be skipping over a stint in the VHL in his comeback.

    Sorry that Sweden passed over Crazy Alex.

    As Lincoln reminded his cabinet, there is only one vote that counts. In the case of the Caps, that is Ted Leonsis.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I agree completely re: Hunter, Fyre. Hopefully he gets a start before return to Hershey.

      • novafyre says:

        Since it’s Lavi’s call, I have my doubts.

      • At some point they will have to start handing bigger roles to the younger players that are developed enough to warrant doing so. Problem is they have, in my opinion, been disappointing in the development and promotion of some of their prospects and whether they have enough young talent to truly feel comfortable parting with some veteran players is questionable.

        The one thing that hurt George McPhee for so long was his refusal to do anything significant (a la Niskanen, Orpik signings,, Oshie trade, etc) and instead added players that wouldn’t take much time away from the core that wasn’t getting the job done (albeit not nearly as old as the current roster and circumstances were a bit different then – no Cup victory before). Loyalty is a great thing and I am not saying MacLellan is McPhee, but I think they will have to be realistic regardless of how this season ends. I’m not saying blow up the whole thing, but I wouldn’t mind more youth.

        • hockeydruid says:

          Part of the current problem is (and has been in the past) hanging unto older players to long. Now they have a HC who only wants older players and the cost of said players is way to high for the performance that they give. It is nice to have a core of players but every now and then one has to go in order to save the cap and to keep the team viable. Yes GMGM had faults and sad to say GMBM seems to have the same ones. As it is currently constructed this team is, so sad to say, NOT a CUP team and just making the playoffs serves no purpose other than to stroke the ego of the owner. Currently this is an old, slow team that does not play well together, plays average to poor D, as they are a -11 in the scoring dept, most of the time and has problems scoring on almost everyone. Injuries happen to all team but this team has no replacements for the injured players. Blow up this team…….it has to happen sooner or later especially with 13 UFA/RFA this summer; so why not start now and at least get something for some of these players as there is not way they can resign them all. Just wondering how much of the owners ego will not let this happen as it seems that his solution is just toss more money at it or sing cheap players, who some work out while other dont. Cant go to the scrap heap all the time. Lastly one of problems that can be resolved quickly is the firing of the HC and GM. The GM has been here for 9 years as GM and with the Caps for 22 years and seems to live in the past. Isnt it time for a new and younger GM and HC who can take this team through the necessary rebuild?

  5. Jon Sorensen says:

  6. Anonymous says:

    We really need this game tonight. Will give us a good road trip and back to .500, as painful as that sounds.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Play Shep Daddy!

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