The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate on Thursday inside of Canadian Tire Centre before their matchup with the Ottawa Senators. With Evgeny Kuznetsov suspended and Connor Brown out due to injury, we expect to see the same lines from Wednesday’s practice on the ice during the game.
Those lines include both Connor McMichael and Joe Snively. The two young forwards are set for their season debuts after being healthy scratches for the first four contests.
Here are those lines again via The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.
Some new #Caps forward lines and pairs for Wednesday:
Not skating: Kuznetsov (suspension) and Brown (lower body)
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) October 19, 2022
McMichael is primed for action as the team’s third-line center. In 68 games last season as a rookie, McMichael recorded 18 points (9g, 9a). The 21-year-old came into this year planning a challenge to become one of the Capitals’ go-to guys down the middle. This will be his first chance to prove himself after losing that challenge to more veteran players like Dylan Strome and Lars Eller during the preseason.
“I’m feeling really excited,” McMichael told Mike Vogel. “I’m ready to go and get into the game action for the first time this year. It’s going to be lots of fun and really exciting. I’m looking to do what I can and show the coaches I belong in the lineup.”
Snively will be the almost one-for-one replacement of Sheary on the team’s fourth line next to Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. In twelve games at the NHL level last season, the former Little Cap put up seven points (4g, 3a). The 26-year-old Herndon, VA native beat out forwards like Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Brett Leason, and Henrik Borgstrom during Training Camp for the last available forward spot on the club.
“New guys come into the lineup and I’m sure they’re excited to get into the lineup,” head coach Peter Laviolette said pregame. “When you have guys missing – it provides opportunity in different ways, whether you’re coming into the lineup or moving up in the lineup or taking on more responsibility. Inside of that we’ve gotta perform well and play well. The opportunity is there but we need guys to answer that opportunity as well.”
The Caps are also expected to line up with some big changes to their defensive unit. Dmitry Orlov has been moved up to the top pairing to skate with John Carlson and Martin Fehervary is now paired with Nick Jensen. The Fehervary-Carlson pairing has struggled to start the season after they did the same for long stretches to end last season.
The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell reports that Darcy Kuemper will take the cage for the Caps again. Kuemper has won two starts in a row after starting the season with a Home Opener loss to the Boston Bruins.
On the flip side of things, Ottawa will come into Thursday night’s action after winning their first game of the season on Tuesday against the Bruins. The Sens had seven different goal-scorers in that 7-5 victory.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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