Most of the Washington Capitals had the day off on Monday following their 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night. A few participated in the team’s optional skate while most sided with the extra day of rest.
The team held a full practice on Tuesday morning at MedStar Capitals IcePlex before departing for Philadelphia in advance of their tilt with the Flyers on Wednesday. The two teams will return to the District for a rematch on Saturday. Here’s the latest from MedStar:
LINES AND PAIRS
The forward Lines and defensive pairs at Tuesday’s full practice, courtesy of Tom Gulitti on NHL.com:
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Sonny Milano
Lars Eller — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary — Dylan Strome — Tom Wilson
Marcus Johansson — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev – Martin Fehervary
Extras: Anthony Mantha, Matt Irwin, Nicolas Aube-Kubel
In summary, Kuznetsov and Backstrom flip center positions on the top two lines. Sonny Milano is elevated from the third line to the top line. Tom Wilson and Conor Sheary drop to the third line and Dylan Strome moves from left wing on the second line to center the third line. Additionally, Alex Alexeyev cycles in for Matt Irwin.
PP1: Gustafsson (point) Ovechkin (Ovechkin spot), Oshie (diamond), Backstrom (half wall), Kuznetsov (down low)
PP2: Orlov, TvR, Wilson, Johansson, Strome.
Injured: John Carlson (upper-body); Connor Brown (ACL); Carl Hagelin (hip)
Laviolette on Mantha: “He’s frustrated as he should be. He’ll get back in there; I thought he had a good practice today. These decisions are tough. Kubel didn’t do anything to come out, except score two goals in two games.”
Washington blueliners have combined for 96 points (25g, 71a) through 43 games this season, which is the fifth-highest total among all teams. Capitals defensemen have recorded a total of 55 points (18g, 37a) over the team’s last 21 games, compared to 42 points (7g, 35a) through the team’s first 22 games.
Erik Gustafsson leads Capitals defensemen with 25 points (7g, 18) and John Carlson continues to lead in goals with eight. Gustafsson has recorded 15 points (7g, 8a) in his last 11 games dating back to Dec. 17. Gustafsson’s 15 points during that span lead the Capitals and rank tied for seventh in the NHL. More here.
STAT OF THE DAY – EXPECTED DIFFERENCES
The Capitals have done well to improve their positive differential since rising above the ‘zero line’ on December 7, although there has been a bit of a wobble in the last six or seven games. It’s something to keep an eye on.
[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
There wasn’t much prospect action on Monday night so here is another look, from the seats, at Hendrix Lapierre’s ninth goal of the season on Saturday night.
I had a great view of the goal! pic.twitter.com/ivtWuvbNan
— Collin McCoy (@CDM1424) January 8, 2023