Birthday boy Alex Ovechkin has decided it’s been too long since you’ve seen him play. The Washington Capitals announced on Tuesday evening that the captain will make his preseason debut against the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues at home on Wednesday night.
The Caps have shared the projected roster for the game.
The lines for Wednesday’s game are not yet available, but here’s the full roster:
8 OVECHKIN, Alex
13 VRANA, Jakub
14 PANIK, Richard
19 BACKSTROM, Nicklas
20 ELLER, Lars
23 SGARBOSSA, Michael
24 McMICHAEL, Connor
45 JONSSON-FJALLBY, Axel
49 LEASON, Brett
59 PROTAS, Aliaksei
62 HAGELIN, Carl
63 GERSICH, Shane
77 OSHIE, T.J.
92 KUZNETSOV, Evgeny
94 RIAT, Damien
9 ORLOV, Dmitry
33 GUDAS, Radko
36 HOBBS, Connor
42 FEHERVARY, Martin
46 GEISSER, Tobias
74 CARLSON, John
78 LEWINGTON, Tyler
30 SAMSONOV, Ilya
41 VANECEK, Vitek
Ovechkin last played on April 24, when he recorded an assist in the game-seven overtime loss to Carolina. Ovechkin led the league in goals scored last season with 51.
Debuting as a Capital in game two of the preseason will be offseason signings Richard Panik and Radko Gudas. Goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov is expected to start in net. Not appearing in game two will be Tom Wilson, who has taken a solemn vow to not play against the Blues in preseason games anymore. Wilson scored the overtime winner in the first game of the preseason.
More from the Capitals:
HOME SWEET HOME – The Capitals host the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday at Capital One Arena. In their most recent game, the Capitals beat the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, 4-3, in overtime. Wednesday night marks Washington’s second of six preseason games in total and the second of three home games. Since 2011-12, the Capitals are 16-5-4 at home in preseason games.
GREAT 8 – Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will make his preseason debut against St. Louis. Ovechkin is entering his 15th season with Washington this year. The franchise’s all-time leader in games played (1,084) enters the season with 658 career goals, and Ovechkin currently sits in 13th place on the NHL’s all-time list, 11 goals shy of passing Luc Robitaille (668) for 12th place all-time. Should Ovechkin record another 50 goals this season, which would mark his ninth 50-goal season in his career, Ovechkin will tie Mike Gartner (708) for the seventh most goals in NHL history and pass Robitaille (668), Teemu Selanne (684), Mario Lemieux (690), Steve Yzerman (692) and Mark Messier (694). Ovechkin became the 12th-fastest player in NHL history to reach the 650-goal mark last season and just the fourth
player in NHL history to record at least 650 goals with the same team (Detroit’s Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman, Pittsburgh’s Mario Lemieux).
BETTER PANIK – Richard Panik, who signed a four year deal with the Capitals on July 1, will be making his preseason debut. Panik recorded 33 points (14g, 19a) in 75 games with the Arizona Coyotes last season, ranking sixth on the team in points. The Martin, Slovakia, native ranked first on Arizona in shot attempt percentage (50.96 percent), on-ice shot attempts per 60 minutes played (60.84), on-ice goals for (44) and goals for per 60 minutes of play (2.71) at five-on-five among Coyotes with at least 50 games played. Additionally, he ranked first in goals percentage relative to his teammates (0.99 percent) and second in shot attempt percentage relative to his teammates (2.80 percent). In 410 career games between the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona, Panik has recorded 159 points (75g, 84a).
RAD RADKO – Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas will make his preseason debut for Washington against St. Louis. Gudas, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, recorded 20 points (4g, 16a) in 77 games with the Flyers last season, his third career season with at least 20 points. Gudas’ 51.14 goals for percentage at five-onfive ranked first among Flyers defensemen and second overall on the team (Claude Giroux: 53.13) among players with at least 30 games played. Additionally, Gudas’ 202:06 total penalty kill minutes were the second most on Philadelphia. His career 51.88 shot attempt percentage (6,487 shot attempts for, 6,018 against) at five-on-five ranks 23rd in the NHL among active defensemen with at least 400 career games since 2012-13, his rookie year. Since 2012-13, Gudas ranks second among NHL defensemen in hits (1,484). In 416 career games between Philadelphia and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Gudas has collected 105 points (24g, 81a) and recorded 579 penalty minutes.
IMPRESSIVE SHOWING – Capitals forward Aliaksei Protas, who was selected in the third round, 91st overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft, recorded three points (1g, 2a) in the Capitals’ 4-3 overtime win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Protas, a native of Vitebsk, Belarus, leads all rookies in the preseason in points. Protas registered 40 points (11g, 29a) in 61 games with Prince Albert in the WHL last season and an additional 22 points (12g, 10a) in 23 playoff games, helping the Raiders win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as the WHL Champions. He ranked seventh among WHL rookies in points. Protas also took part in the Capitals’ Prospect Showcase earlier this month in Antioch, Tenn., recording an assist in three games. He is the first player the Capitals have drafted from Belarus in franchise history.
CZECH VITEK – Vitek Vanecek is expected to play against the Blues. Vanecek posted a record of 21-10-6 with a 2.62 goals against average and a .907 save percentage in 38 games with the Bears last season. The Capitals’ second round pick, 39th overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft, was named to the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic and was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 21, 2018. He allowed two or fewer goals in 19 games last season. Additionally, Vanecek posted a 1-3 record with a 2.25 goals against average and a .935 save percentage in four playoff games. In 110 career games with the Bears, Vanecek has a 52-33-24 record with a 2.69 goals against average, a .903 save percentage and nine shutouts.
SAMMY – Ilya Samsonov is expected to play against the Blues. Samsonov finished his first professional season last year in North America with a 20-14-2 record, a 2.70 goals against average and a .898 save percentage in 37 games with Hershey in the AHL. Samsonov tied for eighth in the AHL in shutouts (3) and won six consecutive games from Feb. 2 to Feb. 27, posting a 1.46 goals against average and a .947 save percentage in that span. Additionally, Samsonov appeared in five playoff games with Hershey, finishing with a 2-3-0 record, a 2.99 goals against average and a .897 save percentage.
BLUES BEATERS – Alex Ovechkin has earned 30 points (17g, 13a) in 19 career regular season games against the Blues and has recorded a hat trick in two of his last seven games against St. Louis. In addition, Ovechkin has registered a multi-point game in 10 of his 19 career games against St. Louis. Nicklas Backstrom has earned 24 points (8g, 16a) in 18 career regular season games against the Blues and has tallied a point in 13 of his 18 games. In addition, he has tallied seven multipoint games in his last 14 games against St. Louis.
HOME GROWN – In total, 15 players selected by Washington in the NHL draft are in the lineup for Washington on Monday, including 2018 second round draft pick Martin Fehervary. Fehervary registered seven points (1g, 6a) for HV-71 in the Swedish Hockey League in 45 games during the 2018-2019 season. Fehervary also captained Team Slovakia during the World Junior Championship, recording five points (1g, 4a) in five games. He was named a top three player on Slovakia during the tournament. Additionally, Fehervary represented Slovakia during the 2019 IIHF World Championship, recording an assist in seven games.
STRONG FIVE YEARS – The Capitals enter 2019-20 having won the Metropolitan Division in each of the last four seasons, while also recording 100 or more standings points in five consecutive campaigns. They are one of 10 teams in NHL history to hit the 100 point mark in at least five straight seasons, with the Ducks (5; 2013-14—2017-18) the last team to do so. The only streaks longer than five seasons were achieved by the Red Wings (12; 1999-00—2011-12), Canadiens (8; 1974-75—1981-82) and Oilers (6; 1981-82—1986-87). The Capitals have recorded the most points in the NHL (548) and the second most wins (253) and home wins (136)
in the NHL during that span.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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