The Washington Capitals have been bit by the injury bug yet again.
Nic Dowd left Monday night’s contest against the New York Islanders very early due to a lower-body injury.
Head coach Peter Laviolette announced on Tuesday that Dowd would miss the team’s game against the Minnesota Wild and be out for “a bit”.
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reported the news and added that Laviolette said Lars Eller will draw back into the lineup to replace the injured Dowd. Eller was the Capitals’ latest healthy scratch among the forward group on Monday as the team tries to find stability among their lines after the returns of Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson.
Dowd has been excellent for the Caps this season. His next goal will tie his career high in a single season. His goal-scoring rate during his five-on-five minutes is higher than Alex Ovechkin’s, and when he’s on the ice opponents score at a rate lower than all but four full-time forwards. He also is the team’s first option when it comes to taking crucial defensive zone faceoffs and is a big part of the penalty kill unit.
Here is a refresher on how the Caps took the ice for their game on Monday against the Isles.
If Eller is a one-for-one replacement for Dowd and no other lineup changes are made, he’ll be between Marcus Johansson and Garnet Hathaway on the checking fourth line.
Johansson and Eller have been a very successful duo for coach Laviolette this season as he’s matched them up for over 266 five-on-five minutes. In those minutes, the Caps have seen 54.8 percent of the shot attempts, 55.4 percent of the expected goals, 52.9 percent of the scoring chances, and 53.4 percent of the high-danger chances.
El-Bashir also reports that Charlie Lindgren will get the expected back half of a back-to-back start in net after Darcy Kuemper took the win Monday on Long Island. It will be Lindgren’s first start in 11 days as his last one came against the Nashville Predators in a 3-2 loss.
The Wild come into Tuesday night’s action sitting third in the NHL’s Central Division with 52 points from 42 games played. They have been off for two days after beating the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Saturday. They have been a bit inconsistent of late, winning five of their last ten.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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