The Washington Capitals were off on Friday so Saturday’s morning skate was the first opportunity to get an idea of the team’s lineup against the Buffalo Sabres.
Rookie forward Jakub Vrana will be the odd man out at forward while defensemen Jakub Jerabek and Madison Bowey will also have nacho duty.
Caps backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer will also earn his third start in nine days.
#Caps lines: Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson. Connolly-Kuznetsov-Oshie. Stephenson-Eller-Burakovsky. Chiasson-Beagle-Smith-Pelly.
— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) February 24, 2018
Vrana remains a frequent scratch under Trotz lately. Per NBC Sports Washington’s Tarik El-Bashir, the game will mark Vrana’s fourth scratch in 13 games and sixth of the season overall.
If this lineup holds, Vrana will be the odd forward out for the fourth time in 13 games tonight.
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) February 24, 2018
The first line consisting of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and #TomLineTom Wilson remains intact, but the rest of the forward lines will be changing subtly. Brett Connolly will play on the second line, Chandler Stephenson will play on the third, and Alex Chiasson will skate on the team’s fourth trio.
GM Brian MacLellan suggested at a recent press conference that he’d love to see Michal Kempny skate with John Carlson on the second pairing. Instead, Trotz will line Kempny up with Brooks Orpik and Jakub Jerabek will sit.
Orpik remains in the lineup despite having the third worst possession numbers (43.74 shot attempt percentage) among any defenseman in the NHL (minimum 600 minutes at even strength).
Orpik ranks 160 out of 162 qualifying defensemen in possession.
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