The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate on Monday, hours before they are set to take on Connor McDavid and the rest of the Edmonton Oilers inside Capital One Arena. The game will kick off in DC at a strange 8 pm start time as it’s being broadcast nationally in Canada.
Head coach Peter Laviolette told The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir that Saturday’s waiver wire pickup, Nicolas Aube-Kubel will make his Caps debut. He also gave an update on the status of a few key defenders before the team is set to take on an Edmonton team with a ton of firepower.
Optional morning skate today so no lines. BUT…John Carlson (lower body) will not play vs. EDM tonight. Orlov (lower body) is a game-time decision. Aube-Kubel and Milano will be in the lineup, per Laviolette.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) November 7, 2022
Aube-Kubel is a 26-year-old wing that had a career year last season with the Colorado Avalanche. The Alberta native scored 11 goals and tallied 22 total points in 67 games for the Avs. He also played in 14 playoff games en route to lifting Lord Stanley for the first time in his career.
This past offseason, he signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Leafs and played in six games for them this season. He has yet to record a point and was unable to hold down a roster spot in a very crowded Toronto lineup. On Sunday, he took the ice for Caps practice for the first time and skated on the team’s renowned checking line with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway.
“We like the way he skates, he competes, he hits,” Laviolette said. “He has an impact on the game in a different way. It’s just a starting point for that line but we’re looking at it and talking about different things. He’s one of the guys that leads the league in hits. He’s top ten, he finishes his checks, plays the game hard, competes hard, and he’s an easy guy to like.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 7, 2022
Laviolette also said that Sonny Milano will stick in the lineup after he had a good first game against the Arizona Coyotes. Milano skated on the second line with Dylan Strome and Marcus Johansson. His inclusion for Monday’s game and the addition of Aube Kubel likely means Connor McMichael is headed back to the press box.
“I thought he was good,” Laviolette said of Milano. “I thought that line created a lot. They stayed in the offensive zone and they had some looks and had some chances. I thought Sonny looked good. I thought he and that line had a good impact in the game.”
On the backend, the Caps will be missing John Carlson for the fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. Laviolette added that Dmitry Orlov, who has not skated since leaving the game against Arizona with his own lower-body injury, will be a game-time decision.
That is huge news as the Oilers boast some of the top offensive talent in the entire league and come into the action ranked fourth in goals per game at 3.83. If Orlov cannot go, it’s assumed that Lucas Johansen will make his season debut on the blueline.
Guarding the cage behind that defense will be Charlie Lindgren, according to El-Bashir. Lindgren will get his first start in six days after taking an overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights to start the month of November.
Edmonton will enter the fray against the Caps losers of two in a row after starting the season with a 7-3 record.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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