Connor McMichael will not play against the San Jose Sharks, Wednesday.
The Washington Capitals’ rookie forward will sit after playing sparingly on the second line Monday against the Vegas Golden Knights. He will be replaced in the lineup by Daniel Sprong, who had been the healthy scratch for three straight games.
The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell had the news on McMichael and provided the Caps planned lineup.
Sprong will get into the lineup for the first time since January 18. He will flip to the right side of Nicklas Backstrom and Conor Sheary will play on the right. There are two other big changes. The Ovechkin and Backstrom reunion appears to be over and Garnet Hathaway and Brett Leason have swapped spots in the bottom six.
As for McMichael, the rookie foward has seen his role and ice time fluctuate tremendously on a game-to-game basis this season but as of late he has struggled to receive any sort of real ice time during games from head coach Peter Laviolette. Over his past five games, he’s averaging under eight minutes of ice time and has had two games where he didn’t even play six total minutes.
With McMichael on the ice this season at five-on-five, the Capitals see 54.6-percent of the shot attempts, 59.5-percent of the expected goals, 57-percent of the scoring chances, and 57.1-percent of the high danger chances. The team has however been out-scored 18-17 in those same minutes. So although the underlying play is obviously fantastic, that might be what Laviolette is partially basing this decision on and the decision to limit his ice time when he does play.
Pell also reports that goaltender Ilya Samsonov was first off the ice this morning. That means the 24-year-old netminder is due for his first start in ten days. He last was between the pipes when the Caps fell 4-2 to the Vancouver Canucks on home ice.
Defenseman Nick Jensen, who was placed on injured reserve two days ago and is “week-to-week” with an upper-body injury was present at the skate in a non-contact jersey, according to NBC Sports Washington’s JJ Regan. TJ Oshie, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury was not.
The Capitals opponent Wednesday night in the Sharks, comes into play on a two-game losing skid. The Sharks have amassed a 21-19-2 record this season that sees them currently fifth in the Pacific Division. They will also be without defenseman Erik Karlsson until at least mid-March after the star Swede underwent forearm surgery Monday.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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