The Washington Capitals scuffled offensively during their 2-0 shutout loss against the Dallas Stars on Thursday. The team will go with the same exact lineup against the Nashville Predators.
The Capitals held their morning skate at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell reported the lines.
The Capitals’ top six will remain Ovechkin-Strome-Sheary and Johanson-Kuznetsov-Oshie despite both trios having trouble creating offense against the Stars. The Strome-led first line actually was the Capitals’ worst performing line of the evening, getting out-attempted at 5v5 16-10 and posting a team worse shot-attempts percentage of 38.5. The second line led by Kuznetsov was out-attempted 8-6 but finished with more scoring chances 4-2 than the Stars players they matched up against.
“There wasn’t a lot of opportunity out there,” Laviolette said postgame.
One player that the Capitals need to try and jumpstart is Kuznetsov, who finished last season second on the team in goals (24) and points (78). Kuzy has not scored a goal this season and he has not tallied a point in the last two games. He has gone shot-less in three of his first seven games of the season. It’s unclear if this deployment will get the Russian centerman going. Kuznetsov has only been on the ice for one Capitals goal at 5v5 with Johansson or Oshie.
Kuznetsov’s biggest performance of the season came in the third period against the Canucks. When paired with Ovechkin and Sheary, he tallied assists on three consecutive Capitals goals. Kuznetsov has also been relegated to the second power-play unit as Laviolette and Blaine Forsythe have liked what they’ve seen from Strome and Johansson on the first unit.
The Capitals’ third line will feature Protas-Eller-Mantha and the fourth line will remain Malenstyn-Dowd-Hathaway.
Connor McMichael will sit for the eighth time this season as the prospect remains in Laviolette’s doghouse. McMichael is waivers exempt and can be sent to the Hershey Bears at any time.
Earlier in the week, Laviolette said there have been no conversations about sending McMichael down, despite the center prospect playing only eight minutes and 33 seconds of hockey in the first month of the season.
I “think it’s good to be around it and practice at a certain level and a certain pace every day (with NHL players),” Laviolette said.
Darcy Kuemper will man the net for the Capitals. Kuemper has started seven of nine games this season. Kuemper’s season save percentage crept over .900 on Thursday after stopping 25 of 27 shots against the Stars.
Here are the Predators’ lines via Emma Lingan.
#Preds head coach John Hynes confirms there will be no changes to the lines tonight vs. Washington:
Forsberg – Johansen – Duchene⁰Granlund – Glass – Niederreiter⁰Trenin – Sissons – Jeannot⁰Smith – McCarron – Sanford
Josi – Fabbro⁰Ekholm – Carrier⁰McDonagh – Lauzon
— Emma Lingan (@emma_lingan) October 29, 2022
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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