(Karl B DeBlaker/AP)

“He had an equipment problem, then we just gave him a maintenance day today,” said Hunter, who was asked why Ovechkin only skated five shifts in the third period against Carolina. “I played everybody. You see the minutes, you’re down five-zip. It’s nice to get [Jay] Beagle some more ice time, stuff like that.”

Hunter added that the reason Brooks Laich didn’t play late in the contest was “just precautionary. Just give the other fourth-line guys more ice.”

Laich, who didn’t play the final 10:27 against Carolina, appeared to be in pain on the bench, prompting CSN Washington color analyst Craig Laughlin to remark that it appeared as though the center may have aggravated his left knee. Laich suffered a left knee injury back on Feb. 5 against the Bruins.

For his part, Laich dismissed any notion that he wasn’t healthy and didn’t comment on why Hunter opted to keep him on the bench.

“There’s nothing,” said Laich, who finished with 12:26 in ice time against the Hurricanes. “I really don’t have a lot to say about it.”

Original post after the jump:

The Washington Capitals arrived at the Hurricanes’ practice facility in Raleigh for an afternoon workout Tuesday but Alex Ovechkin was noticeably absent from the group that made their way in from the bus.

Officially, the Capitals say it’s a maintenance day for the star left wing, but it’s possible that Ovechkin may have suffered an injury in Monday’s 5-0 loss to Carolina. Ovechkin was seen limping after the contest, during which he skated his second lowest time on ice this season (15:43).

Ovechkin went to the dressing room with 6 minutes 2 seconds left in the second period against Carolina and didn’t return until the start of the third period but he would skate only five shifts in the final frame of the game.

Everyone else on the trip is on the ice here in Raleigh for practice ahead of the team’s flight to Ottawa. That includes Brooks Laich, who is centering a line with Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer and looks no worse for wear after he didn’t play the final 10 minutes 27 seconds against the Hurricanes.

Here’s what the lines look like today in Raleigh:


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