John Carlson Expected To Start Against Blackhawks: Notes From Capitals Thursday’s Morning Skate

The Washington Capitals held their gameday morning skate at 10:30 on Thursday morning at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. They wrap-up their two-game homestand tonight when they host the Chicago Blackhawks at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7PM ET.


The Capitals announced this morning that John Carlson is expected to return to the lineup tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Carlson has missed Washington’s last 36 games dating back to Dec. 27 due to injury. Carlson has recorded 21 points (8g, 13a) in 30 games this season. At the time of his injury, Carlson led the Capitals in time on ice per game (23:24) and ranked tied for fourth on the team in points.

Three goalies were still here for Capitals morning skate: Charlie Lindgren, Zach Fucale and Darcy Kuemper, who has missed past two games with an upper body injury. Trevor van Riemsdyk is back after missing game Tuesday for the birth of his child.

Kuemper (upper body) will be back in net tonight, per Peter Laviolette. Trevor van Riemsdyk back in the lineup as well.

Laviolette confirmed Carlson will begin the game playing with Fehervary, but they could move things around during the game and he could play with Sandin, too.

Irwin, Carlsson and Aube-Kubel took the extras skate with Lindgren and Fucale.


The Capitals host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at Capital One Arena for the second and final meeting between the teams this season. In their first meeting on Dec. 13 in Chicago, Alex Ovechkin scored his 29th career hat trick to reach the 800-goal mark and lead the Capitals to a 7-3 victory.

Washington has a record of 46-43-11-3 all-time versus Chicago and has earned at least one point in 10-straight home games against the Blackhawks (8-0-2) dating back to Jan. 10, 2006. [MORE HERE]


Today’s stat of the day looks at the performance of each and every defensive pair deployed so far this season (minus players traded). The graph includes the time on ice (TOI), offensive zone shift start percentages and expected goals percentage (xGF%) for each pair. [Click to enlarge].

The Capitals top “defensive” defensive pairings so far this season have been Matt Irwin and Trevor van Riemsdyk and Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary. Both pairings have been deployed quite a bit, with a majority of their shift starts in the defensive zone, all while generating expected goals for percentages above 50%.

Bonus Stat of the day – today’s bonus stat of the day plots the Capitals cumulative expected goals for percentage (xGF%) against each team at five-on-five this season.

No real big surprises, as the Capitals best percentages are against teams in the bottom half of the league in the standings. Seattle, Florida, Minnesota, Dallas, Edmonton and the Islanders are probably the best teams with excellent xGF%.

[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck 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]


The NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament is set to begin this week, with three Washington Capitals prospects – Ryan Chesley, Mitchell Gibson, and Chase Clark, all competing in the season’s final collegiate tournament. [MORE HERE]

Ivan Miroshnichenko scored his first postseason goal in MHL action on Thursday.

David Quinn (Cranston, R.I.), currently in his first season as the head coach of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, has been named head coach of the 2023 U.S. Men’s National Team that will compete in the upcoming IIHF Men’s World Championship May 12-28 in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia, it was announced today by USA Hockey. [MORE HERE]


  • What impact will the QMJHL’s fighting ban have? [Sportsnet]

  • Russia, Belarus barred from next season’s ice hockey worlds. [AP]

  • Russia claim exclusion ‘not beneficial’ for sport. [BBC]

  • Previewing The 2023 College Free Agent Market: Goaltenders. [Pro Hockey Rumors]
  • 2022-23 NHLPA Player Poll Results Unveiled. [NHLPA]

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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5 Responses to John Carlson Expected To Start Against Blackhawks: Notes From Capitals Thursday’s Morning Skate

  1. Anonymous says:

    Do we know how Defensive pairings looked wirh John ?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Yep, they weren’t first reported, but I added what one reporter has cobbled together sans line rushes this morning.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lavi said John will start with Marty but they also want to take a look at the John/Sandin pairing as the game goes on. I suspect there will be a lot mixing and matching to give GMBM a better idea of what they’ll need on the blue line over the off-season.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

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