Ahead their Game Six matchup against the Penguins on Monday, the Capitals took to the ice for morning skate in Pittsburgh. With Nicklas Backstrom suffering an upper-body injury in Game Five, the lines looked a little different than usual.
#Caps morning skate lines ahead of Game 6:
*Backstrom is not on the ice.
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨️🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) May 7, 2018
Per NBC Sports Washington’s Tarik El-Bashir, Shane Gersich has been replaced on the fourth line by Nathan Walker for practice. Walker’s potential appearance in Game Six would mark his NHL postseason debut, and the first for an Australian in the NHL.
With Backstrom absent from morning skate, Lars Eller moved up to the second line. Travis Boyd took Eller’s position on the third line.
Trotz said Backstrom is a “game-time decision.” Asked about Nathan Walker, Trotz said he hasn’t decided on lineup yet.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 7, 2018
After practice, Trotz would only say Backstrom was a “game-time decision.” The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reported that Trotz had not decided on the Game Six lineup.
Jakub Vrána, who excelled on the top line in Game Five, has switched places with Chandler Stephenson. The move could be to compensate for the amount of high-danger chances both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vrána allow on a line with Alex Ovechkin.
— Good Tweet Pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) May 6, 2018
Barry Trotz said in a press conference on Sunday that he expected Backstrom to be in the lineup for Game Six. Should that still be the case, we would expect Backstrom to take back his place on the second line, with Boyd likely being the scratch.
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