The Washington Capitals will try and put an end to a five-game losing streak on Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks. The Caps took the ice for their morning skate and in attendance was their captain, Alex Ovechkin.
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that Ovechkin will get straight back into the lineup against the Ducks after being away from the team for over a week.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette made the announcement after the skate.
“I just want to come back right away,” Ovechkin said Wednesday. “Put my line in different position. We’re struggling right now. Try to do my best to bring energy, bring something to the team.”
Ovechkin, who skated only once during his time away in Russia, got straight off a plane on Wednesday and practiced for the first time after being absent due to the passing of his father, Mikhail.
A return from the team’s leader in scoring will provide an instant spark to an offense that has averaged just 1.75 goals per game in the four games they have been without him. A quick comeback is also something that Ovechkin said he would welcome.
The team did not take their regular line rushes so we do not know who exactly Ovechkin will line up with during the game. The Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs reports that The Great Eight did get some normal power play work in from his usual spot on the ice.
To activate Ovi from the NHL non-roster list, the Caps needed to make a complementary move to fit him back into their 23-man group. They got that in the form of placing Anthony Mantha on injured reserve. Mantha was not present at the skate after going down with an upper-body injury against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.
Charlie Lindgren was the first netminder off of the ice which means that he will receive his first start since taking a loss to the San Jose Sharks on February 12. It will be just his fifth start in 2023. Darcy Kuemper has been the goalie of record for the past four losses and in February overall he has a 1-4 record with a weak 3.07 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.
Anaheim comes into Thursday night’s game as the sole team in the NHL currently playing worse than the Caps. The Ducks have lost six games in a row and are tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the worst team in the entire league.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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