The Washington Capitals took the ice Tuesday for their morning skate before their home game against the St. Louis Blues. The team made two trade deadline moves on Monday and The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that one of those additions, Marcus Johansson, will immediately get a top-six role.
Johansson, pronounced YO-hansson again now, will start his second spell with the Caps playing on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
like he never left! 😍 pic.twitter.com/Hg1Li1FYNr
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 22, 2022
Here is how the Caps’ entire lineup looked via El-Bashir.
Johansson has extensive history flanking Kuznetsov on a line as the two skated over 1,391 minutes together at five-on-five from 2014-15 through 2016-17. In those minutes the Caps have a 51.3-percent shot attempt percentage, a 51.5-percent expected goals for percentage, a 52.4-percent scoring chance for percentage, and a 49.1-percent high danger chance for percentage. The team also has a plus-28 goal differential.
The Swedish forward will also immediately take up a position on the team’s second power-play unit per the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell. He has 84 career power-play points with the Caps, good for fourth-most on the team during the seven seasons he spent in DC.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) March 22, 2022
Making a return to regular line rushes was TJ Oshie but it looks like the crafty winger still isn’t ready for game action. Pell tweeted that Oshie stuck around after the skate was over to get in extra work, indicating he is a likely scratch due to a lower-body injury for the third game in a row. Head coach Peter Laviolette was his typical non-committal self when it came to talking about Oshie’s status. Defenseman Matt Irwin did not get in extra work so it looks like the team is planning on going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Blues.
The only extra forward the Caps are currently carrying is Nic Dowd as they sent Brett Leason back to Hershey. Dowd skated with the team Monday but was in a non-contact jersey.
Trevor van Riemsdyk was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and is not eligible to return until Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils. John Carlson, however, was a full participant in Tuesday’s skate. Carlson was not on the ice for Monday’s optional skate after slamming heavily into the end boards due to a cross-check from Jamie Benn in Sunday’s Capitals-Stars game. El-Bashir says Carlson is still not 100-percent but will suit up come game time.
Pell also reports that Vitek Vanecek was the first goaltender off the ice and will get his eighth start in the month of March. The Stars ended Vanecek’s six-game winning streak in net on Sunday.
The Blues come into the action sporting a 34-18-9 record this season and on a three-game losing streak. They currently sit in the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Screenshot via Tarik El-Bashir
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