T.J. Oshie Expected To Return, Darcy Kuemper Expected To Start Tonight Against Buffalo: Notes From Capitals’ Tuesday Morning Skate

The Washington Capitals held their gameday morning skate at 10:30 AM at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday in advance of their tilt with the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night at Capital One Arena.

The Capitals projected forward lines and defensive pairs:

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

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

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Joe Snively, Alexander Alexeyev.

T.J. Oshie said following morning skate he expects to return tonight. He missed the last six games due to injury. Laviolette said Oshie was a “game time decision”. Oshie said he’s been pain-free since Christmas and is feeling good.

Laviolette on Wilson and Backstrom: “They’re working. So they look good to me. They’re really skating hard and working hard out here and so, like I said, they’re moving in the right direction, trending in the right direction.”

Darcy Kuemper was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate. He is the expected starter in net tonight vs Buffalo.


The Capitals will face the Buffalo Sabres for the first time this season. Washington swept all three games with Buffalo last season and is 21-4-2 against them since 2015.

Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington+ in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 7 PM ET.


Conor Sheary recorded two assists on Saturday vs. Montreal, extending his point streak to four games (1g, 6a). Sheary recorded 15 points (4g, 11a) in 15 games in December, the third-highest total on the team (Alex Ovechkin: 22 points; Evgeny Kuznetsov: 17 points). It marked the second-most points Sheary has recorded in a single calendar month in his career (March 2017: 4g-12a–16p).

Sheary has recorded 26 points (11g, 15a) in 39 games this season, which ranks fourth on the team. Sheary ranks second on Washington in goals, trailing only Alex Ovechkin (26). Since joining the Capitals ahead of the 2020-21 season, Sheary ranks second on Washington in goals with 44 (Ovechkin: 100) and second in goals at five-on-five with 33 (Ovechkin: 48). In addition, Sheary’s two shorthanded goals this season lead the Capitals and are tied for the fourth most in the NHL.

Sheary is on pace to record 23 goals and 54 points this season. Should Sheary maintain his scoring pace, he would tie his career high in goals (2016-17: 23) and establish a new career high in points (2016-17: 53). [More here.]


Today’s stat of the day takes a look at the Capitals power play efficiency over the course of the season (39 games). [Click to enlarge].

The Capitals reached a season-high of 27l1% early in the season (November 7), and have begun to level-off since the beginning of December. They currently sit at 21.9%, which is 17th in the league.

For what it’s worth, T.J. Oshie’s absence due to injuries has been overlayed on the graph. The power play improved approximately 3% during Oshie’s most recent return.


Ryan Chesley and Team USA beat Team Germany 11-1 in the quarterfinals match on Monday. They will face Team Canada on Wednesday with the winner moving on to the Gold Medal game on Thursday.

Bogdan Trineyev returned to the Moscow Dynamo lineup on Tuesday and recorded a primary assist on their first goal.

You can catch up on all of the Capitals prospects in our month prospect report for the month of December. [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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6 Responses to T.J. Oshie Expected To Return, Darcy Kuemper Expected To Start Tonight Against Buffalo: Notes From Capitals’ Tuesday Morning Skate

  1. dwgie26 says:

    I wonder if they will play this game. Not sure I have a strong opinion other that to support the Sabres locker room and what they want/need. Such a tragic incident.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting “stat of the day”….food for thought.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

  4. Jon Sorensen says:

    Aaaaaand here are the lines that actually worked:

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