The Washington Capitals had quite the eventful Sunday morning as they took the ice inside Canada Life Centre for a skate hours before their matchup with the Winnipeg Jets.
With two defenders recently recalled from Hershey to soothe injury concerns on the backend, it appears the Caps have potentially lost yet another blueliner as Erik Gustafsson departed the skate early and did not return.
Caps head coach Peter Laviolette declined to give the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell an update on Gustafsson’s status after the skate. He says the Caps are “still working through things in the room.”
Pell also reports that the Caps officially placed goaltender Darcy Kuemper and defenseman Alex Alexeyev on injured reserve. Kuemper’s placement is retroactive to December 3, meaning he can come off whenever ready as it has already been a week since then.
Defensemen Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath are the two players up from the Bears and they could be forced into NHL action immediately upon their arrival. With Martin Fehervary, Dmitry Orlov, and Alexeyev on injured reserve and now with questions regarding Gustafsson’s health the Caps are in need of healthy bodies on the backend.
Johansen got into just his second NHL game for the Caps against the Oilers on November 7. McIlrath hasn’t seen any ice at the NHL level since playing in 16 games for the Detroit Red Wings in 2019.
Here is how the Caps fully lined up, with all of that in mind, via Pell.
While somewhat funny to see, obviously, Joe Snively is not a defenseman and was just filling in for Gustafsson’s unplanned absence. It’s more likely that if the Caps’ Swedish defender cannot go against the Jets that TVR is elevated to the first pairing, Irwin flips sides to play with Jensen, and McIlrath enters the fray to the right of Johansen on the third pairing. Either that or Johansen plays with Jensen and Irwin-McIlrath are paired together.
On a day when Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson traveled with the team for the first time this season and while riding the first three-game winning streak of the season, the forward lines were unchanged.
— John Walton (@JohnWaltonPxP) December 11, 2022
Charlie Lindgren will get his fourth straight start in net after Kuemper went down against the Flames. Lindgren holds a 3-0 record with a 1.34 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage since taking over the starter reins. Hunter Shepard will remain his backup.
The Jets will come into the action winners of four games in a row and leaders of the NHL’s Central Division. MoneyPuck currently gives Winnipeg the greatest chance of any team (9.9%) at winning the Stanley Cup this year.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.