Dylan McIlrath Skates With Starters, Tom Wilson And Nic Dowd Skate As Extras: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate On Thursday

The Washington Capitals held their gameday morning skate at 10:30 this morning in advance of their tilt with the Florida Panthers tonight at Capital One Arena. Puck drop against the Panthers is set for 7PM ET. [GAME PREVIEW]


The forward lines and defensive pairs at Capitals morning skate, courtesy of Tom Gulitti/NHL.com.

Anthony Mantha — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Marcus Johansson
Joe Snively — Dylan Strome — T.J. Oshie
Aube-Kubel — Lars Eller — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Dylan McIlrath — Martin Fehervary

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Aliaksei Protas, Alex Alexeyev, Matt Irwin

Darcy Kuemper was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate, and is expected to start tonight against Florida.

Dylan Strome moved up to the first power play unit. Laviolette said yesterday they moved puck well against the Hurricanes, but need to shoot more.

Capitals PP1: Gustafsson, Backstrom (Ovechkin spot), Oshie, Strome, Johansson

PP2: Orlov, Kuznetsov, Sheary, Mantha, Milano

If Dylan McIlrath plays tonight, it will be his first NHL game since Dec. 10, 2019 with Detroit at Winnipeg.

Tom Wilson (lower-body) and Nic Dowd (lower body) also skated, but didn’t take line rushes. Dowd donned a no-contact jersey.


The Washington Capitals host the Florida Panthers on Thursday for the first time since Florida eliminated Washington in Game 6 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series last May. Florida also took the first meeting of this season between the two teams by a score of 5-2 at FLA Live Arena on November 15.

The Capitals are 67-44-9-12 all-time versus Florida and have won two-straight games against the Panthers at home.

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


Today’s stat of the day takes a look at the Capitals rolling average for their expected goals for percentage (xGF%) through the first 55 games. [Click to enlarge].

The Capitals season average has dropped over the last eight games since hitting a season high of 51.96% on January 19. They currently sit at 51.20%.

[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]


Bobby Nardella scored with 1:29 remaining in regulation Wednesday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Wilkes-Barre. The goal ultimately sent the game to overtime.

Ryan Chesley is expected to miss the games versus the Nittany Lions this weekend due to an upper body injury suffered in last Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Wisconsin. Gophers coach Bob Motzko indicated that Chesley will not play until March, at the earliest. “(Chesley) will come back in the playoffs sometime…Injuries are part of sports. They happen, you’ve just got to roll on.”


  • Fake sports memorabilia worth millions seized. [ESPN]
  • Rain is currently forecasted for Friday in North Carolina, which could cause havoc with team practices set for Friday evening. Here’s the latest from Raleigh in advance of Saturday’s Caps-Canes Stadium Series game:

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 Dylan McIlrath Skates With Starters, Tom Wilson And Nic Dowd Skate As Extras: Notes From Capitals Morning Skate On Thursday

  1. James says:

    Here in Richmond it has been very warm (record setting) this week. Hope this outside game in the south doesn’t prove to be a debacle.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Irwin used to be a favorite of Laviolettes. Now, maybe not so much?

    • hockeydruid says:

      Someone like Irwin is a valuable part that an be inserted after sitting for long periods of time and play well; however he is not a full time player. He is your 7th or 8th D-man who rides the rafters and eats lots of nachos!

  3. Anonymous says:

    That top line has been horrendous

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