Dylan Strome Skates With Extras, Darcy Kuemper Gets The Start In Goal: Notes From Capitals Optional Morning Skate On Saturday

The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate this morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. They host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight in the second game of the home-and-home set, with puck drop set for 7PM.


The Capitals changed their morning skate to “optional” for this morning. Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette confirmed after the skate that Darcy Kuemper will start in goal tonight against the Flyers. He also said decisions about lineup changes are still being made.

However, Dylan Strome, Nicolas-Aube-Kubel, Alex Alexeyev and Charlie Lindgren skated after the morning skate, possibly indicating tonight’s scratches.

For what it’s worth, here were the the forward lines and defensive pairs at Friday’s practice:

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

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

If you remove Dylan Strome and Nicolas Aube-Kubel and replace Alex Alexeyev with Matt Irwin, you possibly have tonight’s starting lineup.


The Capitals close out their season series with the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena. Garnet Hathaway, T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson scored in the Capitals’ 5-3 loss to the Flyers on Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center.

In three games against Philadelphia this season, the Capitals are 2-1-0 and have outscored the Flyers 10-8. Washington is 97-111-19-11 all-time versus Philadelphia and 15-8-0 in their last 23 games against the Flyers dating back to the 2018-19 season. [More here.]

The Flyers did not hold a morning skate. Coach John Tortorella will meet with the media pre-game/late afternoon.


Today’s stat of the day simply plots the league ranking for the Capitals team goaltending over the course of the first 44 games of the season. [Click to enlarge].

The ranking has gradually improved since a season-low on November 23. The Capitals currently have the 8th-best team goaltending save percentage in the league.

[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]


Connor McMichael and Joe Snively hooked up for a sweet goal on Friday night. McMichael would make a perfect outlet pass off the boards to Joe Snively streaking down the left side. “Snipely” would fire top corner for the score.

Ryan Hofer scored in his first game with the Kamloops Blazers on Friday night. The goal came against his former team the Everett Silvertips. Hofer was traded from the Silvertips earlier in the week.

Ethen Frank had this opportunity for a hat trick last night against Springfield Thunderbirds. He also had an empty net goal after this that was waived off for being offsides.

Mitchell Gibson was named on the initial watch list for the 2023 Mike Richter Award as the nation’s top goaltender, the Hockey Commissioners’ Association announced Thursday (Jan. 12).

Semifinalists for the award will be announced in February, with the field further narrowed to three finalists in March before the winner of the award is announced in April at the 2023 Frozen Four in Tampa.

Gibson (7-3-1, 2.22 GAA, .921 Save%) has been one of the nation’s best in net over the first half of the season, starting 11 of 15 games in net for the Crimson.


Connor Brown turns 29 today. Laviolette told media today that Brown has stepped up rehabilitation of his torn ACL.

And finally, please welcome Acadia to Caps Nation.

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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27 Responses to Dylan Strome Skates With Extras, Darcy Kuemper Gets The Start In Goal: Notes From Capitals Optional Morning Skate On Saturday

  1. Anonymous says:

    Laviolette is bending over backwards to keep Eller in the lineup and I don’t know why.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      It would appear that way.

    • franky619 says:

      Eller deserves to be in the line up, Backstrom and his 9.2 mil should be skating with the extra or even better he should be on waiver. No way he brings more than Strome. What a joke of an organisation. Looks like they’re ready to give up on the season already.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Waive NB19, Franky? Easy.

        • franky619 says:

          Yeah, waive him then buy out! Team was trending upward with Strome as a top 6 center. Kid is one of the best bargain of the summer and is only gonna get better.They need to stop holding on to fading memories wich were overrated to begin with.

          • Jon Sorensen says:

            I respect your opinion, but don’t agree. We haven’t seen what NB19 can do with improved hip.

            • franky619 says:

              I garantee that it won’t be worth half his 9.2 millions. Eller brings more to the team than Backstrom. Take Backstrom off the 1st PP unit ( where he’s not doing better than Strome ) and all you got left is a very average player.

            • franky619 says:

              I garantee it won’t be worth half his 9.2 millions salary. Eller at 3.5 millions brings more to the team than Backstrom. Take him off the 1st PP unit ( where he’s not doing better than Strome by the way) and all you’re left with is a very average player.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Scratching Strome is just plain stupid.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I give up

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am shocked. Lavs needs to explain why Strome is sitting.

  5. Marky says:

    I am shocked. Lavs needs to explain why Strome is not playing.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      It’s almost as if he was afraid to publicly announce, saying “we are still deciding on this to the media” and then 2 seconds later the healthy scratches skate.

      • Diane Doyle says:

        Of course, we guessed he’d be a healthy scratch when stuck on the 4th line in practice as a rotating winger with MoJo.

  6. Diane Doyle says:

    Why the bleep is Strome a healthy scratch? Unless there’s a nagging injury and he needs a rest. How on Earth did he sink far enough to be a rotating winger on the 4th line in practice and then a healthy scratch. Lavi, what were you thinking with that move?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why would any young player want to come to the Capitals while Laviolette is coach.
    Regardless of talent, production or strong analytics you can’t keep your spot on a line, your spot on the ice or your spot on the roster.

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