The Washington Capitals will kick off the final week of their regular season with a home matchup vs the New York Islanders on Monday night. The Caps took the ice for their morning skate before the game and absent again was captain Alex Ovechkin.
According to the Washington Post’s Roman Stubbs, Ovechkin will miss his second-straight game due to an upper-body injury. Ovechkin has not skated since April 6 in Montreal.
Unfortunately for the Caps, Ovi’s absence was only the start of their woes as they will also be without TJ Oshie, Anthony Mantha, Nic Dowd, and Trevor van Riemsdyk against the Islanders.
The Caps played without Ovechkin for the seventh time this season against the Panthers and it went just as well as the previous six games without The Great Eight. They are now 0-7 and have been outscored 31 to 14 in those seven losses.
On the season, Ovechkin has recorded 42 goals and 74 total points. Both of those marks lead the team. Head coach Peter Laviolette did not rule Ovechkin out of the team’s final two games later this week.
Oshie joined Ovechkin as absent for the skate and will be shut down for the rest of the season with his injury. Fourth-line center Nic Dowd was also not present. Both Anthony Mantha and Trevor van Riemsdyk returned to the ice from their injuries but only in non-contact jerseys which indicates they are not quite ready to return to play.
Oshie and TVR have not played since March 30. Mantha has not played since April 2. Dowd’s absence is a new one as he has played in all three April games to this point.
To soothe some of those issues and to ensure they don’t have to play down two men on the bench, Joe Snively was recalled from the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Snively is an emergency recall so no additional move will need to be made to fit him on the team’s completely cap-strapped roster.
That cap crisis does mean they will play with just 17 skaters for the third-straight game.
Alex Ovechkin and TJ Oshie remain out
Anthony Mantha & Trevor van Riemsdyk taking part in non-contact jerseys
Joe Snively has been recalled from AHL’s Hershey Bears pic.twitter.com/UC4CQ2tVD9
— Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) April 10, 2023
Returning to the starter’s net will be Darcy Kuemper after Charlie Lindgren took the loss to Florida. Kuemper has started just twice in April to this point and has given up five goals against in each of those games. He now sports a .909 save percentage on the season.
The Islanders enter play still in desperate need of standings points as they cling to one of the last available playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. With two games remaining, they are tied with the Panthers in terms of amassed points but are behind on a tiebreaker so they currently sit in the second wild-card position.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are just one point behind both teams on the outside looking in, meaning Penguins fans will once again be rooting for the Caps to win tonight.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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