After watching his team absorb a 7-2 shellacking from the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, Todd Reirden is making some changes to the Capitals lineup – albeit they are subtle.
Radko Gudas, who has played all 55 games this season, will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his Capitals career. The benching allows rookie Martin Fehervary to continue his audition before the trade deadline while Reirden can continue experimenting with the defense pairings. Three different defensemen (Jonas Siegenthaler, Nick Jensen, and now Gudas) have sat in the last three different games to accommodate Marty in the lineup.
Fehervary scored his first NHL point on Saturday, a secondary assist on an Evgeny Kuznetsov goal.
Capitals expected lines vs Islanders:
*Gudas appears to be the healthy scratch
*Wilson/Oshie flip back
— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) February 10, 2020
While the scratch is likely not a benching, Reirden fingered Gudas’s turnover on Michael Raffl’s second-period goal that started the Capitals demise against the Flyers.
“I didn’t think our execution was good to start the game. It starts off with a turnover and turns into a puck in the back of the net on a bad read defensively,” Reirden said. “They were able to capitalize on their next opportunities and we couldn’t get back in the game.”
Reirden has also flipped his star right wings in the top six. TJ Oshie has been returned to the second line while Tom Wilson will skate on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
Ilya Samsonov will start.
CAPS TODAY: Ilya Samsonov is expected to start tonight against the New York Islanders. The rookie goaltender has a 16-3-1 record through 22 games (2.19 goals against average, .923 save percentage and 1 shutout). More info on Samsonov and the Caps at https://t.co/HecIC0ECg1
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) February 10, 2020
The Capitals game against the Islanders on Monday will be the first time the two rivals have met since January 18. In that game, the Capitals faced a 4-1 deficit going into the third period and were “pissed off” after Devon Toews taunted the team with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s bird celly. The Capitals responded by scoring five unanswered goals and won 6-4. Ovechkin would tally his third hat trick of the season.
The game will be aired on national TV as Alex Ovechkin attempts to score his 700th career goal.
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