After backing up Pheonix Copley for two games since suffering an eye injury, Braden Holtby is expected to start against the Islanders tonight.
Head coach Todd Reirden noted that Holtby is good to go, and they wouldn’t need to recall a goalie from their AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
Todd Reirden says Capitals won't recall another goaltender and Braden Holtby is good to go tonight vs. Islanders: "We're planning on him playing tonight."
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) January 18, 2019
Holtby suffered the eye injury during the Capitals’ bout with the Columbus Blue Jackets, when Cam Atkinson’s stick made its way through Holtby’s mask.
Holtby was able to attend both practices before the next two games against the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators. After sitting out against the Blues, Holtby was expected to start against Nashville, but was held out for precautionary reasons.
When Thursday’s practice was complete, Holtby said that his vision before the Nashville game “obviously wasn’t close enough to 100%.”
Today, Holtby confirmed his vision is back to 100%.
Holtby said he’s 100 percent and he’s going to play tonight.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) January 18, 2019
In front of Holtby tonight, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin will be paired together again on the top line, and Evgeny Kuznetsov will center the second unit between Jakub Vrana and TJ Oshie.
Capitals at morning skate:
Extras: Bowey, Jaskin, Bowd.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 18, 2019
Dmitrij Jaskin, Travis Boyd, and Madison Bowey are the healthy scratches. Jaskin came back to the lineup against the Nashville Predators after sitting for six straight games, and was one of the only players not on ice for a Predators goal.
Tonight’s game is a big one for the Capitals. Not only are they celebrating Brooks Orpik’s 1000th game and former coach Barry Trotz’s return, but the Metro division’s top spot is on the line, and the separation between the Caps, Blue Jackets, and Islanders is one point.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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