Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette just did this pregame media availability and revealed some lineup decisions for the Caps’ rematch against the New York Rangers, Saturday. The Capitals won 2-1 Friday after two late goals by Alex Ovechkin.
According to Laviolette, Ilya Samsonov will start in net while TJ Oshie will play center. With Tom Wilson back, the Capitals will play 12 forwards and six defensemen for the first time in four games.
Ilya Samsonov will start in net for the Capitals tonight vs, the Rangers.
Tom Wilson returns from seven-game suspension, Lars Eller (lower body) remains out.
T.J. Oshie will shift to center.
So Capitals will have 12F and 6D for the first time in four games.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 20, 2021
Tom Wilson will skate on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov while Oshie will center a third line that includes Richard Panik and Daniel Sprong on the wings.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 20, 2021
Lars Eller will miss his fourth straight game due to a lower-body injury he suffered against the Philadelphia Flyers. Eller practiced on Thursday and participated in the Capitals’ morning skate Friday but ended up missing both games this weekend.
“I wouldn’t say I’m ready to commit to saying that I’m good to go yet,” Eller admitted after practice. “Today was a step in the right direction. First time I skated in a while, like a week or something. It’s been a little bit. We’ll see how tomorrow morning goes and we’ll go from there. I’m feeling very close.”
Meanwhile, Samsonov is unbeaten in regulation (6-0-1) this season. This will be his fourth start in his last six games.
According to the Capitals PR:
Since returning from COVID protocol, Samsonov has won all five starts (5-0-0) with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. According to Natural Stat Trick, Samsonov has a .879 save percentage at five-on-five in high-danger areas, which ranks sixth among goaltenders with at least eight games played.
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