Updated, 2:05 p.m.: Jay Beagle missed the Capitals’ morning skate at TD Garden Thursday, which is unusual for the 26-year-old center. Beagle, who served as Washington’s shut-down pivot for much of the final month of the regular season, rarely takes a day off from skating so for him to miss the final workout ahead of Game 1 of the playoffs seems to indicate that not all is well with the Calgary native.
Beagle took part in extra work on Wednesday and was no worse for wear then, but an injury or illness are certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Coach Dale Hunter downplayed concerns about Beagle’s absence.
“He’s fine,” Hunter said. “He just did the option, that’s all.”
Mike Knuble, who was a healthy scratch for the regular season finale, came off the ice ahead of the expected scratches and may take part in warmup. So if Beagle is unable to go, look for the veteran winger to get back in the lineup.
Other notes from the morning skate:
— Jeff Schultz, who hasn’t played since March 22 against Buffalo, is expected to be back in the Capitals’ lineup tonight. Based on the past three days of practice, Schultz will likely be paired with Dennis Wideman. Dmitry Orlov will be the odd man out among blueliners.
— Injured goaltender Michal Neuvirth (lower body) made the trip to Boston with the team and worked out with the scratches once the main group wrapped up.
— Alex Ovechkin opted not to skate this morning, which is a fairly common occurrence. He’ll be in the lineup tonight.
“I don’t think it’s lighter,” Ovechkin said when asked about the Capitals’ mood. “It’s the first game of the playoffs; everybody excited. It’s a different season right now, starting. Of course you prepare stuff to get ready and it doesn’t matter how but you’ve got to be ready a hundred percent.”
— While Beagle’s status is uncertain and it’s unclear whether Knuble might be needed in the lineup as a replacement, here are the expected scratches: Jeff Halpern, Cody Eakin, Mattias Sjogren, John Erskine and Orlov.
Original post: The Capitals are on the ice for their optional morning skate at TD Garden ahead of Game 1 with the exception of Alex Ovechkin and Jay Beagle.
Ovechkin might have simply taken his option not to skate, as he does frequently throughout the course of the season, but Beagle's absence is a little more peculiar. The third-line center is a noted rink rat, who rarely takes a day off the ice.
I hope to get an update on both missing players from Coach Dale Hunter once the team is off the ice.
Given the absences, the Capitals aren’t doing line rushes this morning but they’ll likely use the combinations they’ve shown in practice the past three days.
In other news, Braden Holtby and Dany Sabourin are the only goaltenders taking part in the skate. Injured netminder Michal Neuvirth (lower body) made the trip to Boston, but is not working out with the rest of the team.
Courtesy of the Boston Globe, here is the Bruins’ projected lineup:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon-Joe Corvo
Healthy scratches: Jordan Caron, Mike Mottau
More to come.