The Washington Capitals are on their hottest streak of the season as winners of five-straight games. It appears more reinforcements could be on the way sooner rather than later.
The team’s morning skate featured several injured members of the roster ahead of their Thursday night matchup with the Dallas Stars.
Here is how the team lined up at the skate via The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.
#Caps morning skate lines/pairs/goalies ahead of DAL:
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) December 15, 2022
The most notable inclusion in the prospective lineup is Lars Eller. Eller was a late scratch on Tuesday in Chicago with a reported upper-body injury after playing in all 30 prior games of the season. He was spotted with some sort of wrap around his midsection during postgame Alex Ovechkin’s 800th goal-related celebrations.
Head coach Peter Laviolette tells the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell that the Danish centerman will be a game-time decision and his inclusion looks like it will force Aliaksei Protas back to the left wing of the fourth line.
That means that Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who saw his first action of the season since November 19 on Tuesday, has been relegated to skating on an extra line with still-recovering stars Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson. Neither Backstrom nor Wilson has shed their blue non-contact jerseys just yet.
The Caps normal number one netminder Darcy Kuemper also got on the ice early and remained throughout the whole practice. He will not dress for the game. Kuemper has not played since leaving a December 3 game against the Calgary Flames with an upper-body injury. In his stead, backup Charlie Lindgren has gone 5-0-0 in five starts with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.
According to El-Bashir, Kuemper took shots earlier in the morning from both Martin Fehervary and Beck Malenstyn. Fehervary has not played since leaving that same game against the Flames early with his own upper-body injury and Malenstyn hasn’t dressed since November 1 due to having finger surgery. Neither player stuck around for the full practice but both are showing progress toward returning.
Martin Fehervary out at the end of morning skate today. Not on the ice, but stick handling on the bench. Lots of guys stopping by to chat, too. Good to see him out there! #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/q1GYf6mjsf
— Katie (@That_WriterGirl) December 15, 2022
Lindgren was again the first goaltender off of the ice at the skate so he’ll be making his sixth-straight start. The team he’ll look to shut down in the Stars has already beaten the Caps at home earlier this season.
Dallas currently sits atop the league’s Central Division, majorly in part due to the play of the NHL’s second-leading goal scorer Jason Robertson. The third-year sniper has 43 points (23g, 20a) in 30 games played this season.
Headline photo: @That_WriterGirl/Twitter
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