Alex Ovechkin missed the Capitals’ morning skate on Tuesday due to the upper-body injury that he suffered Sunday against the Leafs. Ovechkin, who is day-to-day, was replaced by Connor McMichael on the first line.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said after the skate that Ovechkin is officially a game-time decision per The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
The Capitals are wrapping up the home portion of their regular-season schedule Tuesday night against the New York Islanders. It will be the first of two consecutive games against the Isles as the Caps will travel to Long Island on Thursday.
The rest of the Capitals lineup remains the exact same from the previous three games against the Vegas Golden Knights, Arizona Coyotes, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Regardless of if he plays or not tonight, Ovechkin will be on the ice for a pregame ceremony where the Capitals plan to honor their captain for passing Jaromir Jagr for third on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Team owner Ted Leonsis will be on the ice to give Ovechkin a gift from the organization.
If McMichael were to actually get a sweater against the Islanders, it would be his first game in 16 days. The 2019 first-round draft pick has nine goals and 18 total points from 66 games so far in his NHL career. Among rookies that see on average 11 minutes of ice time or less, those totals rank first in the league.
Laviolette told The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir that the McMichael move is in part, due to not wanting to disrupt his lineup any further than he needed to. “The lines have been really good for 10 games now,” Laviolette said.
Getting the start in goal for the Caps according to El-Bashir will be Ilya Samsonov. It will be Sammy’s first start since he took the overtime loss to Vegas on April 20. Vitek Vanecek has started both previous games against the Isles this season.
The Islanders have lost five games in a row coming into the action and they are playing for no reason other than to maybe spoil some Eastern Conference playoff-seeding hopes. The Caps remain just one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who play the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday, for third in the Metropolitan Division aka the avoiding the Florida Panthers in the first round race.
Update: The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir saw Ovechkin leaving the rink and headed to his car. The Capitals captain’s arm was not in a sling.
FWIW: Saw Ovechkin just now. No sling. No brace. Posed for a photo with fans before jumping into his SUV and driving off. #Caps
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) April 26, 2022
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen/RMNB
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