The Washington Capitals will look to start a winning streak Monday night as they host the Vegas Golden Knights in DC for the first time in more than two years.
They’ll do so with a very familiar top-line duo reunited and two of their top three defensemen returning to the lineup.
Samantha Pell of The Washington Post reports that John Carlson is out of COVID-protocol and took the morning skate, Dmitry Orlov is back in the lineup after serving his two-game suspension, and Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been reunited on the top line.
Here is the rest of the lineup via Pell.
Backstrom has six assists on the season in his nine games played and four of them have come on Alex Ovechkin goals. Conor Sheary joins them on the top line as Garnet Hathaway sees himself back in more familiar surroundings to the right of Nic Dowd. Carlson slots right back into his usual pair and Orlov will ride driver’s seat next to Justin Schultz. Connor McMichael, if he plays more than five minutes, will get a big chance next to two very good offensive players in Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson. Still no Nick Jensen or TJ Oshie due to injury and no Daniel Sprong as he looks to be a healthy scratch for a third straight game.
Ovechkin and Backstrom have played in 184 games together over the past three seasons and in those games over 1,411 minutes at five-on-five. The Capitals saw 51.7-percent of the shot attempts, 52.3-percent of the scoring chances, and out-scored opponents 81 to 73 with the dynamic duo on the ice.
Carlson and Orlov returning is a big boon as they are the only two regular defensemen this season for the Caps that average over 20 minutes of ice time per game. Carlson leads the team at 23:43 and Orlov comes fourth at 21:01.
Pell also reports that Vitek Vanecek was the first goaltender off the ice at the skate which indicates he will make his fourth start in a row and his fifth since January 15.
The Golden Knights come into Monday night’s play with a 24-15-2 record that sees them currently top of the NHL’s Pacific Division. They have an identical record to the Caps over their last ten games of 4-4-2.
Headline photo: @rashelle_wilcox
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