Here are the projected lines:
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Connor McMichael – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Sonny Milano – Dylan Strome – Matthew Phillips
Beck Malenstyn – Nic Dowd – Aliaksei Protas
Rasmus Sandin – John Carlson
Martin Fehervary – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Alex Alexeyev – Nick Jensen
Charlie Lindgren left Monday’s morning skate according to Bailey Johnson of The Washington Post. Caps head coach Spencer Carbery did not have an update regarding Lindgren’s status as to whether or not he will back up Darcy Kuemper, who will make his season debut. Clay Stevenson has been recalled from Hershey and will be backup tonight.
Aliaksei Protas will slot back into the lineup after he was sent down to Hershey on a paper transaction, which means that Anthony Mantha will be a healthy scratch.
Mantha has been a big storyline heading into the new season as to whether or not he can bounce back from another underwhelming campaign last year. He had 11 goals in 67 games in 2022-23.
“We’ve been working a lot with Anthony and his game and getting it up to the level that we feel like it, he feels like he’s capable of. I think the biggest thing is just offensively. There’s no secret he’s an offensive player and he’s not a penalty killer, he’s not a real defensive specialist. He’s an offensive player that needs to create and needs to score,” Carbery said. “That’s sort of the area that we’ve dialed in and really focused on is trying to get his confidence level and try to get his touches back to the level that he’s been capable of in his career.”
Meanwhile, Alex Alexeyev will take Lucas Johansen’s place on the third pairing with Nick Jensen. Carbery said that Johansen sitting out has nothing to do with his play against the Penguins, but rather an opportunity for Alexeyev to get into the lineup. The 23-year-old played in 32 games last year and racked up five assists.
Matthew Phillips will play his former team for the first time on Monday. The 5-foot-8 forward has spent his entire pro career with Calgary’s organization, primarily with the Calgary Wranglers. He played three NHL games with the Flames.
The Flames (1-1-0) are also looking to bounce back after a 5-2 loss against the Penguins.
The Flames, like the Capitals, have a fresh voice behind the bench in Ryan Huska. Darryl Sutter was let go after the Flames missed the playoffs last year for the second time during Sutter’s three-year tenure.
“A little bit different team makeup since the coaching change. A little bit of a change with their D being active but they’re still a heavy shot volume team. We’re gonna have to do a really good job defending the net front. A lot of low to high ready shoots, puck is coming inside. Against [Pittsburgh] they heavily out shot them or shot-attempted them in that game,” Carbery said. “The things that we focus on when you’re playing a team like that is you got to do a real good job number one getting in shot lanes, stopping pucks from getting up top, but when they do shoot from the point is you got to be real good on sticks, you got to be real good on box-outs they only get that first shot [and] there’s no secondary chances and then we get that puck recovery and get out of the defensive zone.”
Players to watch
Rookie forward Matt Coronato scored his first NHL goal against Pittsburgh and is projected to have a big year. Coronato is coming off a two-year stint with the Harvard Crimson and was third on the team with 36 points (20 goals, 16 assists) in 34 games.
Andrew Mangiapane currently has four points (two goals, two assists) in two games, which leads the team.
Dan Vladar is the projected starter for Calgary after Jacob Markstrom started the first two games against Pittsburgh and the Winnipeg Jets respectively.
The Caps will take on the Flames at 7 p.m. at Capital One Arena.
By Jacob Cheris