By all appearances at KCI, Washington tough-guy D.J. King will likely be in the lineup Saturday night at Verizon Center against a tough Ottawa Senators team.
With Jay Beagle out of the lineup it opens a spot up on the fourth line for either King or Mathieu Perreault, who both were healthy scratches against Pittsburgh but Perreault took part in a hard extra skate after the morning workout.
While it could be viewed as a reaction to the fight between Beagle and Arron Asham on Thursday, it would simply give the Capitals more grit against the Senators, who feature heavy hitters Zenon Konopka and Chris Neil.
“If they’ve got a lot of toughness in the lineup, he’s protection for us,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Unless you’ve played, it’s hard to understand...if you’re walking down a street with a big brother you feel more comfortable. It is what it is.”
In four games this season, Neil has 25 penalty minutes and one fighting major meanwhile, Knopka in just two appearances this year has 24 penalty minutes and two bouts on his 2011-12 fight card.
During the 2010-11 campaign, Knopka, then with the Islanders, and Neil led the NHL in penalty minutes with 307 and 210, respectively.
Boudreau said both King and Perreault will take warmup, but don’t be surprised to see the Saskatchewan native skating on the left wing of the fourth line tonight.
“I know my role,” King said earlier this week. “I always got to stay ready to play. When those chances do come, I’ve got to take advantage of them. So I’m always prepared to play.”