The Washington Capitals returned home late Tuesday night following their 4-o drubbing of the Rangers in New York City. The team held an optional practice on Wednesday and a morning skate this morning in advance of their tilt with the Ottawa Senators tonight at Capital One Arena. Here’s the latest:
The Capitals’ forward lines and defensive pairs at Thursday’s morning skate, courtesy of Tom Gulitti/NHL.com:
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 — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev — Matt Irwin
Darcy Kuemper was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, indicating he is likely to get the start tonight.
Extras: T.J. Oshie, Martin Fehervary, Tom Wilson, Joe Snively, Lucas Johansen
T.J. Oshie practiced in a full-contact jersey at morning skate. He donned a non-contact jersey in yesterday’s optional practice. Oshie has been out since the Maple Leafs game on December 17.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) December 29, 2022
Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said yesterday that he doesn’t anticipate any lineup changes vs. the Senators tonight, indicating it’s unlikely any injured players will be back tonight.
Capitals PP1: Gustafsson, Ovechkin, Strome, Kuznetsov, Johansson
PP2: Orlov, TvR, Sheary, Mantha, Milano
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) December 29, 2022
Nicklas Backstrom (Covid Protocol) did not skate this morning. Martin Fehervary also continues to skate with the team.
The Capitals announced that assistant coach Scott Allen has entered the NHL’s COVID protocol and won’t be available for tonight’s game.
The Washington Capitals complete their season series with the Ottawa Senators when they host them for the lone time in 2022-23 on Thursday night. The teams split the two meetings in the nation’s capital to the north with Ottawa taking the first one, 5-2, on October 20 before Washington responded with a 3-2 overtime victory this past Thursday.
— Scotty2Hottie (@rock_on85) December 29, 2022
STAT OF THE DAY – PERSPECTIVE?
Each season it’s interesting to take a look at how the current season compares to other seasons including the 2017-18 Stanley Cup season. In this case we look at the records for the two teams after 37 games.
Fwiw, #ALLCAPS after 37 games:
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) December 28, 2022
The numbers have no real relation to each other, but it does offer a little perspective. The Capitals have the same number of losses after 37 games, with the only difference being two overtime losses.
Bonus Stat Of The Day – The Capitals continue to surge in the standings, despite continuing to lead the league in man-games lost due to injury.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Ryan Chesley and Team USA fell to Team Slovakia, 6-3 on Wednesday afternoon. Chesley (#71), who remained on the second pairing with Lane Hutson, was beat on the zone entry that lead to Slovakia’s first goal.
Rare mistake by Capitals prospect Ryan Chesley on defense. He’s usually reliable for guiding puck carriers to the wall and stopping the rush. He got beat clean here. https://t.co/nZPAJ4rtl5
— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) December 28, 2022
Chesley had a team-low time on ice of 6:02 for the game, which included just 1:14 and two shifts in the first period.
Ryan Hofer scored his 19th goal of the season (19g, 12a, 31 games) Tuesday night against the Tri-City Americans.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) December 28, 2022
Bear Hughes has been named to the 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic roster. The mid-season event is hosted by the Norfolk Admirals and will take place on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, at Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.
Congrats to Bear Hughes on being selected for the 2023 @WarriorHockey ECHL All-Star Classic! 🐻👏
— SC Stingrays (@SCStingrays) December 28, 2022
“I am honored and excited to be the one player representing the Stingrays,” said Hughes. “There are a lot of guys on the team that could have been picked to play in the game. We have a locker room full of teammates that are excellent people both on and off the ice.”
Hughes, 21 signed an AHL contract with the Bears this past offseason and was assigned to South Carolina before the start of the season on October 13th. The 6-foot-2, 172-pound forward leads the Stingrays with 26 points and 14 assists to go along with 12 goals, second most on the team. The rookie out of Post Falls, ID ranks third among rookies in points, fourth in goals scored, and is tied for sixth in assists.
By Jon Sorensen