Update 1:04 p.m.: Marcus Johansson limped off the ice at Scotiabank Place after accidentally being stuck by a shot late in the morning skate. The 22-year-old forward whose improved play has been a key part of the Capitals’ recent success was able to walk to the team bus without much difficulty.
Asked about Johansson’s status Oates said: “He’s going to be fine.”
It’s worth noting that Wojtek Wolski didn’t finish the scratches skate, though, so if Johansson isn’t able to play tonight expect to see the seldom-used forward back in the lineup. Wolski has been a healthy scratch in 15 of the past 20 games.
Original post: Greetings from rainy Kanata, Ontario, where the Capitals will be in search of their ninth consecutive win tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators, who are currently ranked sixth in the East and could face the Capitals in the first round of the playoffs, have won three straight themselves and are looking to continue their own success.
“They’re obviously playing pretty good, winning eight in a row is impressive. We’re trying to ride our own streak and do our best to destroy theirs,” said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson of the Capitals. Alfredsson said he and his teammates aren’t looking to set a tone against a possible postseason opponent just yet.
“They’re a team that has turned things around drastically really from the beginning of the year, hitting their stride at the right time,” Alfredsson said. “It’s a possibility, I don’t think we’re going to read into it too much. As of now I think still a lot is going to change. For us it’s a matter of trying to get as many points as we can down the stretch and secure a playoff spot.”
Craig Anderson, the NHL’s leader in both save percentage (.949) and goals-against average (1.55), will make his third consecutive start for the Senators. In his past two games combined, Anderson stopped 65 of the 67 shots he faced. From the look of things in the Capitals’ morning skate, Braden Holtby (.917 save percentage, 2.67 GAA) will make a fourth straight appearance for Washington.
There weren’t any surprises at the Capitals’ skate; Coach Adam Oates stuck with the same lineup that he’s used in recent games. Neither Brooks Laich (groin) nor Joel Ward (left knee contusion) made the trip with the team, and both remain sidelined indefinitely. Everyone else was on the ice for the skate at Scotiabank Place.
Here’s what the lineup looked like in the morning skate: