The Washington Capitals took to the ice for practice on Friday following a 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders that shut down their three-game winning streak. In that game, starter Darcy Kuemper struggled to get going in net as he posted a zero percent save percentage in the first period.
Head coach Spencer Carbery announced after the skate that Kuemper would get a bit of a break on Saturday, with backup netminder Charlie Lindgren set to make his second start of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Lindgren has not played since the Opening Night of the season when he was the team’s surprise starter as Kuemper was out due to the birth of his first child. The 29-year-old backstop suffered an injury just days later ahead of the Capitals’ second game against the Calgary Flames.
That morning skate ailment would eventually force him onto the injured reserve, where he stayed until last Sunday against the San Jose Sharks. In that game, he returned to his backup position to give the Capitals their full goaltending battery for the first time this season.
However, just days later, Lindgren was forced off of the ice again at the Capitals’ next practice after a puck dinged him on an unpadded spot of his lower body. While the Minnesota native departed that skate and did not return, he was seemingly no worse for wear and was able to play second fiddle to Kuemper on Thursday night.
In Lindgren’s lone start against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he stopped 31 of 35 shots that he faced. Last season, his first in Washington, he recorded a 13-11-3 record with a 3.05 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.
Carbery made two more minor changes to the lineup at practice Friday. Up front, Aliaksei Protas skated as the the third line’s right wing after earning a promotion there during the game against the Islanders. That move has forced Matthew Phillips to the fourth line.
On defense, Alex Alexeyev swapped into Hardy Haman Aktell’s spot on on the third pairing. Alexeyev has not played in the team’s last two games.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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