Alex Ovechkin Returns, Nic Dowd Takes Maintenance Day: Notes From Capitals Tuesday Practice

The Washington Capitals returned to work on Tuesday for one more practice in advance of their tilt with the New York Islanders on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. A reminder that puck drop on Wednesday is at 7:30PM on TNT.


Alex Ovechkin returned practice today after taking a maintenance day yesterday.

Nic Dowd took a maintenance day and didn’t skate with the team this morning.

Craig Smith participated in today’s practice after leaving practice yesterday because of a lower-body injury.

The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs at Tuesday’s practice, courtesy of Tom Gulitti/

Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Craig Smith
Aliaksei Protas — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary — *Matt Irwin — Aube-Kubel

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin — Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

*Irwin subbed for Dowd


Dylan Strome recorded two points (1g, 1a) on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, extending his point streak to four games (2g-5a–7p). It marked Strome’s third multi-point effort in his last four games and his 15th multi-point game of the season, which trails only Alex Ovechkin (20) for the most on the team.

Strome has recorded 20 points (6g, 14a) in his last 14 games and a team-leading 17 points (5g, 12a) in 12 games in March. Strome has played 58 career games in the month of March and has recorded 57 points (21g, 36a), marking his highest point total in a single calendar month in his career. [MORE HERE]


Last week we noted that the Capitals had finally reached a significant milestone with regards to faceoffs, as they hit the 50% mark for the first time in more than two years. Since that post the team has continued to rapidly improve their overall faceoff winning percentage, which now sits at a season high of 50.4%.

The rapid improvement of the Capitals faceoff winning percentage leads one to wonder which players are responsible for the improvement.

Today’s stat of the day simply plots the faceoffs won, faceoffs lost and faceoff winning percentage for all Capitals player that have taken at least one draw this season.

Unsurprisingly the return of Nicklas Backstrom (52.0%) has helped buoy the teams faceoff winning percentage. Nic Dowd also continues to impress at the dot, particularly during penalty kills. Dylan Strome has also improved in recent weeks and is nearing 50% mark.

[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]


Ivan Miroshnichenko and Omskie Yasterby have advanced to the semi-finals of the Kharlamov Cup. They defeated Tolpar 5-4 on Monday to take the quarterfinal series. They begin their semifinals series with CKA-1946 on April 3.

All five of the Capitals prospects playing in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) (Haakon Hanelt, Ryan Hofer, Dru Krebs, Alexander Suzdalev and Jake Karabela) have advanced to play in the CHL postseason, which begins on Friday. [MORE HERE]


  • Sask. goaltender who drove a car into a house suspended from junior hockey. [CTV News]

  • Bettman says Senators won’t move out of Ottawa with sale of team. [TSN]
  • Report: Larionov calls for Russia to ‘withdraw’ from IIHF over suspension. [Sportsnet]

  • Goaltending has cratered across the NHL in March. [TSN]

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.
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Alex Ovechkin Returns, Nic Dowd Takes Maintenance Day: Notes From Capitals Tuesday Practice

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wish they’d find a way to get Mantha out of the lineup. With the way he plays, he may drive his value down further before the end of the season.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      You are not the only one my friend. I would love to see Snively/Malenstyn or Pilon getting ice time.

    • Dave Inkeles says:

      I don’t believe there is any value there. His value is ZERO.
      He was pretty soft and worthless before the game 8n Pittsburgh, but his boneheaded play after Strome tied it shows that he isn’t worthy of a jersey anymore. Total waste of nearly 6 million.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        I think if Mac is crafty, he can find a team that will take him in some kind of larger package deal.

        • GRin430 says:

          How about they can have Mantha plus the magic beans and they can keep their cow…

        • hockeydruid says:

          I know I have been shouting to trade Mantha for some time now however it might just be better to sign a HC and staff for next season before making more changes to the roster. Let the incoming HC have some say in who makes up his team; unless it is PL and then it really doesn’t matter.

          • Jon Sorensen says:

            Why the change up, Druid?

            • hockeydruid says:

              Since we are not going to get anything for him without giving up picks or players and if the injury bug hits next year like it did this year and since there is not going to be a rebuild keep the known quantity rather than trade it for a pig-in-a-poke. No one is going to give anything useful for Mantha and probably want to unload an older player with a huge salary so better with what we have than taking someone elses problem. Besides this team is not a playoff team or a cup contender and atter next season we are rid of him. He can sit in the rafters and watch others play rather than give up picks or prospects. Finally who is going to be the HC next season? If PL then this is his type of player so keep the coach happy and if not PL then he is only here 1 more year. Keeping him also gives the younger players in Hershey another year to get ready for the NHL.

              Now for a plate of homemade lasagna and a cold beer with homemade biscotti for desert!

              • Anonymous says:

                But why not unload him, even if it’s only for a late round draft pick? And open up a spot for a young player in the system to get an opportunity.

                • GRin430 says:

                  Not to mention the cap space… Unloading either/both Mantha and Kuznetsov would open up considerable cap room, even if the Caps had to eat almost the equivalent of their buyout numbers to make the deals (and really there’s no reason to eat even that much… they might as well buy them out if they had to retain that much salary).

                • KimRB says:

                  His $5.7 M cap hit makes him virtually untradeable. I would say only teams with a ton of cap space, and needing to get to the cap floor, which is $60M, would want him. And those teams on the low end of the salary cap, Arizona, Anaheim, Buffalo, probably wouldn’t want to do the Caps any favors, unless sweetener was added. In other words, the Caps would have to pay to get rid of a guy they paid dearly to get.

  2. Mark Eiben says:

    If we don’t add a significant D man in trade or free agency this summer, I’d be fine with those D pairings to start the season next year.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mantha wouldn’t have a problem getting signed if he was a free agent. His contract is the bigger problem. The Caps are almost assuredly going to have to either eat his salary or trade picks to dump it.

    Worse: his real salary is 6.5mm next season, against a 5.7mm cap hit, so he’s especially unattractive to cash poor cap floor teams.

Leave a Reply