The Washington Capitals returned to work Tuesday morning following a day off for the team on Monday. They next host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7PM ET. [Preview here].
Alex Ovechkin did not participate in the team’s morning skate. The team announced this morning that he is taking a leave of absence to attend to family matters. Ovechkin is not expected to be back this week, per Laviolette. Ovechkin addressed the team this morning.
T.J. Oshie on Ovechkin addressing the team this morning: “He came and talked to the boys. Definitely it’s nice to see him, to give him a hug and let him know we’re here for him, in person instead of over text.”
Anthony Mantha, who missed the Capitals last game vs. San Jose on Sunday with illness, is expected back tonight for Capitals.
Tom Wilson skated before the team’s morning skate, and participated in the morning skate in a regular (full-contact) jersey, but is not expected to play tonight.
The forward lines and defensive pairs from Capitals morning skate on Tuesday, courtesy of Tom Gulitti/NHL.com:
Conor Sheary — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas — Dylan Strome — T.J. Oshie
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Marcus Johansson
Aube-Kubel — Lars Eller — Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin — Martin Fehervary
Extras: Tom Wilson, Joe Snively, Alexander Alexeyev
Darcy Kuemper was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate and is expected to get the start tonight against the Hurricanes.
Capitals PP1: Gustafsson, Kuznetsov (Ovechkin spot), Oshie, Backstrom, Johansson
PP2: Orlov, TvR, Sheary, Strome, Mantha.
Injured: John Carlson (out indefinitely); Connor Brown (indefinite); Carl Hagelin (indefinite); Nic Dowd (indefinite); Tom Wilson (day-to-day); Anthony Mantha (day-to-day).
The Capitals and Hurricanes clash for the second time this season and the first of two this week on Tuesday with the 2022 NHL Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh looming on Saturday. Carolina crunched Washington in a shootout by a score of 3-2 on October 31 at PNC Arena the first time that these teams met but Washington is 5-1-1 in their last seven against them.
Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington in-market or ESPN+ out-of-market starting at 7 PM ET. [GAME PREVIEW].
STAT OF THE DAY
Today’s ‘stat of the day’ looks at the Capitals team shooting percentage at five-on-five over the course of the season (55 games). [Click to enlarge].
The Capitals currently sit at 8.17% for the season, below the league average of 8.36%. That’s 20th 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]
DOWN ON THE FARM
Mitchell Gibson and Harvard lost to Northeastern in a shootout, 3-2, in the 2023 Beanpot Championship on Monday night.
.@GoNUmhockey takes the Beanpot in a shootout!!! #NCAAHockey pic.twitter.com/k4oFWQQxSn
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) February 14, 2023
Gibson played well, stopping 27 0f 29 shots faced for a .931 game save percentage in the loss. Gibson has allowed two goals or less in 10 of his 18 starts this season.
Ivan Miroshnichenko has returned to Avangard’s junior team this week to get a little more playing time. He played his first game on Monday (no points) and scored a power play tally in Tuesday’s game against Sputnik Almetievsk. He has been starting at left wing on the first line.
Ivan Miroshnichenko, getting some playing time with Avangard’s junior team this week, hammers home a power play tally in the 2nd period of today’s tilt against Sputnik Almetievsk. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/MrDx5RldCG
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 14, 2023
Ryan Hofer scored his 33rd goal of the season on Saturday night against Prince George.
The Everett connection 🔥🔥@OlenZellweger to Hofer to the back of the net 🔥 pic.twitter.com/mSTjTge5Oz
— Kamloops Blazers (@blazerhockey) February 12, 2023
“He’s relentless in his puck pursuit and he’s a physical player,” Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said. “And I would say that he’s got a good shot. He’s probably been working on his skill, even more this year, because he’s always had kind of a physical aspect to his game. And he plays hard; he’s a pretty intense guy. He seems like a physical player, but he’s probably working more on his skill level, on his hands and his shot.” More on Mahoney’s thoughts on Hofer can be found here.
Prayers to Ovi.
So much uncontrollable adversity this season.
Brutal News prayers to Ovi and the Family. This team has been through so much and can never get some consistency with the line up. This will definitely put GMBM in a tough spot. It might be time to start dumping some of these UFA’s for picks and luckily with all of these UFA’s we can retool pretty easily this offseason as we won’t be Cap strapped like most teams will be.
Going to be very interesting to see how other teams play this lineup. And how Kuzy reacts being given more responsibility on the PP to score. Lets see who elevates their game the next few nights. Like Protas on the 2nd line but would rather see Snively on the 4th in place of NAK.
Tommy getting close I guess is the good news today.
Snively is the man! Protas not so much……