Defenseman Jack Hillen will return to the Capitals’ lineup Saturday afternoon in Boston, making his first appearance since the season opener.
He take the place of Tomas Kundratek, who suffered an apparent right leg injury on Thursday in Carolina, on Washington’s injury ravaged blue line. Coach Adam Oates acknowledged that it’s difficult to truly evaluate Hillen heading into his first game back after nearly two months off.
“He only played three minutes so it’s tough. He’s an NHL player, he’s a veteran,” Oates said. “He’s coming off an injury; I’m sure he’s done it before. Obviously it’s a difficult situation today against the Bruins, but it’s part of the job.”
Oates said he would try to ease Hillen back into game action, but it’s quite possible the game dictates otherwise. The 27-year-old is a strong skater and even with the rust, that trait might help him against the bruising Bruins.
“I think it’s a little bit easier for him to catch up and he’s been going through the paces pretty good,” Oates said. “Obviously a physical team over there; they come hard, they come with four lines. Hopefully his feet can help him out.”
Michal Neuvirth gets the nod in net and will make a second consecutive start after recording 36 saves in the 3-2 win at Carolina Thursday. This is Neuvirth’s first start against the Bruins since Oct. 19, 2010. He is 1-2 with a 3.55 goals-against average and .841 save percentage against Boston in his career.
Anton Khudobin will make his first career appearance against the Capitals this afternoon as Boston, which plays at Pittsburgh Sunday, goes with its backup in the first half of back-to-back games.
Faceoff: 1 p.m. TD Garden | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7
Discuss the game in the comment section below and based on warmups here’s what the lineup should look like:
Goal: Neuvirth, Holtby.
Scratches: Tomas Kundratek (right leg), Mathieu Perreault and Wojtek Wolski.
IR: John Erskine (left hand/wrist), Mike Green (groin) and Brooks Laich (groin, non-roster).