The Washington Capitals continue their lengthy road trip on Saturday with another matchup north of the border. They’ll look to bounce back from their lopsided defeat in Toronto against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.
The team Capitals to the ice in Montreal for their morning skate and did so with Dmitry Orlov, who was a full participant in line rushes. The Russian defenseman has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.
“We’re hoping,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette told The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir when asked about Orlov’s potential to dress against the Habs.
His return to the lineup would entail Trevor van Riemsdyk returning to his normal third pairing role next to Justin Schultz and would force Matt Irwin back to being a healthy scratch. It looks like the rest of the lines will remain the same from the defeat in Toronto. Here they are via the Capitals’ Mike Vogel.
The top line of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Conor Sheary struggled mightily to create offense when deployed together in Toronto. In 7:19 of five-on-five time with that line on the ice, the Caps were out-attempted 9 to 2, outshot 4 to 0, out-scoring chanced 7 to 1, and out-high danger chanced 4 to 0. It should be noted that Kuznetsov did was sick and missed the morning skate due to a non-COVID illness.
Nicklas Backstrom will center Marcus Johansson and TJ Oshie on the second line while Lars Eller will be joined by two bonafide top-six forwards on the third.
If Orlov ends up playing, defenseman Matt Irwin will sit as a healthy scratch along with Connor McMichael, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, and Michal Kempny. It will be McMichael’s third game in a row that he sits out via coach’s decision.
Vogel also reports that Vitek Vanecek took the starter’s net at the skate. Vanecek’s last start came against the Boston Bruins last Sunday as he took the 4-2 win, making 28 stops on 30 shots against. The Czech netminder came in against the Leafs in relief of Ilya Samsonov and gave up an additional three goals on 13 shots in the 7-3 loss.
The Canadiens are only bested by the Arizona Coyotes when it comes to being the league’s worst team. They have lost four games in a row coming into Saturday night’s fixture and played Friday night as Carey Price made his season debut in a losing effort against the New York Islanders.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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