Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was injured early in Game One against the Florida Panthers and the team said the rugged winger would be a game-time decision for Game Two.
If the morning skate is any indication, Wilson playing is not looking likely. Wilson was not present at the morning skate according to The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
Taking Wilson’s lineup spot and skating with the fourth line will be Brett Leason, who was called up from the Hershey Bears just hours prior to the skate. Leason’s inclusion on the fourth line has pushed Garnet Hathaway up to the third line.
Here is how the rest of the team looks via Pell.
The move to insert Leason on the fourth line breaks up two lines that the team deployed on Tuesday night instead of the one if Leason had just filled in on the third line. The fourth line being touched at all is surprising given just how dominant that trio had been to close the regular season. In 13 games together at five-on-five, the Caps got 57-percent of the shot attempts, 66.5-percent of the expected goals, 60.3-percent of the scoring chances, and 78.7-percent of the high danger chances with them on the ice.
Connor McMichael, who despite absolutely glowing analytics, will not get an opportunity to play and has only suited up five times since March 28.
personally I'd play the guy ranked 28th in the league in expected goals pic.twitter.com/oVakJ4AT55
— Good Tweet Pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) May 5, 2022
According to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, Vitek Vanecek, who was excellent in the 4-2 Game One victory, will get another start. It will be just his third career postseason start as he looks to build off his 30-save performance from Tuesday.
The Panthers have changed a couple of things around in their group that took the loss to the Caps. Most notably, Sam Reinhart has been promoted into the top-six on the right wing over Claude Giroux and Ryan Lomberg has been replaced by Noel Acciari on their fourth line.
#FlaPanthers with a few changes this AM:
Verhaeghe – Barkov – Duclair
Huberdeau – Bennett – Reinhart
Marchment – Lundell – Giroux
Acciari – Luostarinen – Hornqvist
Weegar – Ekblad
Forsling – Gudas
Chiarot – Montour
— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) May 5, 2022
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk/RMNB
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