Midway through Capitals’ 6-3 drubbing at the hands of the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, rookie defenseman Christian Djoos left the game with what the team later called an upper-body injury. The 23-year-old Swede hasn’t practiced with Washington since bowing out with a mystery ailment. On Saturday morning before the Caps’ game against the Minnesota Wild, Washington head coach Barry Trotz refused to shed light much on the situation.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 18, 2017
“I don’t want to answer that,” Trotz said curtly when asked by reporters whether Djoos was undergoing the NHL’s concussion protocol. “I don’t know exactly when he’s going to skate yet.”
While Djoos will be missing his second straight game, Jakub Vrana will draw back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the Capitals’ 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
“I think the hardest part is just to stay confident and not think about it too much,” Vrana said of sitting in the press box.
When asked what the head coach asked the skilled winger to improve, Vrana citied “little things” and “battles.”
Washington needs to find something as they go up against Minnesota, who have won four straight with shutouts in three of the four. The Capitals, meanwhile, have been outscored 12-5 in their last two games, going 17 minutes without a shot against the Avs at one point.
“It’s gone off the rails a little bit here in the last two games,” Trotz said. “We’re the only ones that can get it back. We’ve had too many passengers.”
Washington will play nine of their next 10 games at home. They are 5-3 at Capital One Arena this season.
“When we’re attacking, dangerous going up ice, going up the offensive zone more than we are defending, then we’re a pretty good team,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “If we’re defending way too much because we’re not defending well or winning enough pucks then it’s gonna be a long night.”
Headline photo: Bruce Bennett
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