Alex Alexeyev Returns To Lineup, Darcy Kuemper Expected To Start Tonight Against Rangers: Notes From Capitals’ Tuesday Morning Skate In ‘The Big Apple’


The Washington Capitals returned to work Tuesday morning in New York City following their three-day holiday break. The team traveled from Washington early Tuesday morning, as travel is not permitted during the league’s Christmas break, per the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.

Once arriving in New York City this morning, the team held a workout at Madison Square Garden in advance of their tilt with the Rangers tonight. The lines and pairs at morning skate, courtesy of Samantha Pell/Washington Post:

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev – Matt Irwin

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Darcy Kuemper was the first goaltender off the ice, indicating he will likely get the start tonight against the Rangers. Defenseman Alex Alexeyev looks to return to the lineup tonight as well. It would be his first game since being injured against the Seattle Kraken on December 9. He has played five games with the Capitals so far this season.

Defenseman John Carlson did not make the trip to New York. The team announced over the weekend that he will be out indefinitely. The Capitals announced Tuesday afternoon that Carlson has been placed on injured reserve. [More here.] T.J. Oshie and Martin Fehervary also did not make the trip to New York.

Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom continue to skate with the team in full-contact jerseys, but as extras.

The Capitals announced Tuesday morning that they have recalled defenseman Lucas Johansen from Hershey.


(ST)RANGERS

The Capitals and New York Rangers will return from the holiday break and meet for the first time in the 2022-23 season tonight in the Big Apple. New York won two of three games against Washington last season with the home team winning every game.

New York has also taken six of the last eight meetings (6-2-0) against Washington at Madison Square Garden. Action from MSG can be seen at 7 PM ET starting on NBC Sports Washington+ in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market. [GAME PREVIEW]


STAT OF THE DAY

For today’s stat of the day we revisit the Capitals expected goals for percentage, which has been steadily rising since a season-low on October 25. [Click to enlarge].

The story remains the same, as the Capitals team average continues to climb, now well above 50% and one of the best in the league over the last month and a half. More on the Capitals recent high-level of performance can be found here.

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

DOWN ON THE FARM

Ivan Miroshnichenko, the Capitals first round draft pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, scored his first career goal in the KHL on Monday. It was just his seventh game played in Russia’s premiere league.

Miroshnichenko has had a very productive month of hockey after returning from his treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On December 4 he made the next big step in his hockey career, starting for Avangard’s KHL team. It was his first game ever played in Russia’s top league.

Miroshnichenko was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in February, but was cleared by doctors to return to skating and workouts after successfully completing a course of treatment in Germany in back June.

The Capitals ultimately selected Miroshnichenko in the first round (#20 overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft held on July 7.

Ryan Chesley and Team USA kicked off their 2023 campaign at the World Junior Championship on Monday. Team USA downed Latvia, 5-2 in their first game and will next face Slovakia on Wednesday at 4PM ET.

Chesley remained paired with Lane Hutson on Team USA’s second defensive pairing for the opener. He recorded 12:59 of total ice time, as his shifts/minutes diminished as the game progressed. We will have a full game-by-game tournament breakdown for Chesley following the conclusion of the tournament.

SHAVINGS

And finally, the Capitals announced today “AR Ovi,” an augmented reality experience built by Balti Virtual in honor of Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time goals list (click here for sample video).

Ovechkin scored his 21st and 22nd goals of the season and the 802nd of his career Dec. 23 against the Winnipeg Jets at Capital One Arena, passing Gordie Howe (801) for second place on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Ovechkin now only trails Wayne Gretzky (894) for the most goals in NHL history.

AR Ovi is 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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5 Responses to Alex Alexeyev Returns To Lineup, Darcy Kuemper Expected To Start Tonight Against Rangers: Notes From Capitals’ Tuesday Morning Skate In ‘The Big Apple’

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kind of a tough break getting the Rangers right out of the break and having to travel on game day.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree. Trying to recall last season. Last season the Capitals hosted the Sens first game back, so I guess if they are keeping it even over the long haul it is what it is. Unfortunately tonight’s game is a standings battle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Was hoping Willy would return for this one, for, well “Horrifying Acts Of Violence”

  3. Anonymous says:

    AR Ovi is wild. He was just sitting on my toilet 😂

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sink or swim time for Alexeyev. Now or never, dude!

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