The Washington Capitals had the day off on Thursday following their 5-3 defeat to the Flyers Wednesday night in Philadelphia. The two teams will do it again on Saturday at Capital One Arena, with puck drop set for 7PM. Here’s the latest news and notes for Friday:
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette continued to tinker with the lines on Friday. The forward lines and defensive pairs at Friday’s practice, courtesy of Matt Weyrich/NBC Sports Washington.
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Connor Sheary/Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
T.J. Oshie — Nic Dowd — Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson/Dylan Strome — Lars Eller — Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Alexander Alexeyev — Martin Fehervary
Nicolas Aube-Kubel shared the right wing on the top line with Connor Sheary and Marcus Johansson and Dylan Strome shared the left wing on the fourth line. The practice lines also seem to indicate that Anthony Mantha could return to the lineup on Saturday against the Flyers.
Peter Laviolette on the lines today: “It’s just practice right now so, again, we’re just looking at different things and slotting guys in.”
It will be very interesting to see who Laviolette sits on Saturday should Mantha return. Lars Eller would seem like an obvious choice, not forcing Strome to a fourth-line winger position, at least for one game, although today’s practice lines seem to indicate that Eller will find a spot at center on the fourth line.
MedStar was packed on Friday as 800 kids from Arlington County Public Schools were in attendance as part of the celebration of Alex Ovechkin reaching 800 goals.
Ovi time pic.twitter.com/3q708OwaP1
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 13, 2023
Ovechkin took a photo with each class and they all received free T-shirts. Not a bad school day if your are a kid.
Marcus Johansson scored his 11th goal of the season on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. Johansson, who scored nine total goals in 69 games with the Seattle Kraken and Capitals last season, currently ranks tied for second on the team in goals (Alex Ovechkin: 29; Conor Sheary: 11).
In addition, Johansson leads the Capitals in game-winning goals (5) and ranks tied for the fifth-most game-winning goals in the NHL. Johansson scored four game-winners in a nine-game span from Dec. 9 to Dec. 27, including two on the power play, one on a shorthanded penalty shot attempt and one in overtime. [More here]
STAT OF THE DAY
Today’s stat is courtesy of JFresh Hockey which lists the team goals saved above expected for all situations. It is simply the expected goals against minus the actual goals against for each tandem of netminders in the league.
As Justin mentioned in his mid-season assessment of the Capitals goaltenders on Thursday (here), both of the Capitals netminders have done well in their respective roles, with Darcy Kuemper ranked eighth in the league in most of the key statistical categories.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Vinny Iorio scored his second career AHL goal on Wednesday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The goal helped the Bears mount a late third period comeback and ultimately send the game to overtime.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) January 12, 2023
Jake Karabela also found the back of the net on Wednesday. He now has 11 goals and 10 assists in 39 games played so far this season.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 12, 2023
The Hershey Bears host their first of two weekend games against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Tonight’s contest marks the official midpoint of the Bears’ 72-game regular season schedule.
By Jon Sorensen