Brooks Laich was not on the ice with the Capitals for warmups before today’s 3 p.m. faceoff with the Maple Leafs at Verizon Center. He sat out Saturday’s practice with the groin injury that’s kept him from two of the Caps’ last five games and limited him down the stretch of Friday’s win over Vancouver. Adam Oates said prior to Sunday he’d “see how today goes” before determining whether or not Laich would join the team on its California trip this week. He also added that he wouldn’t play Laich if he thought the injury could develop into a long-term problem (…so maybe more accurately, a worse long-term problem, given Laich has battled the problem since the 2012 lockout).
Jaroslav Halak, who’s gone 2-2 with a 2.53 goals against average since being acquired from the Sabres, will make his fifth straight start in net. He’ll likely see the Leafs’ James Reimer in the opposite crease. Reimer stopped all 31 shots he faced after replacing starter Jonathan Bernier who left with a lower-body injury in a 3-2 Maple Leafs win Thursday.
Though the Capitals — three points behind the Flyers for fourth in the Metropolitan division and for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs — already need every win they can get, the Flyers provided some added incentive by jumping out to a three-goal first period lead over the Penguins in a game that faced off at 12 p.m. Saturday . The Flyers now lead 4-3 in the third period.
Catch up on the past few days in Capitals news:
— In Washington’s last outing, the Caps gave up another two-goal lead but hung on for a win over the Canucks.
— Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded three assists against Vancouver on Friday
— Read what Katie Carrera took away from the Friday night victory
— In Saturday’s practice, Evgeny Kuznetsov played on the second line with Casey Wellman and Troy Brouwer
— Tom Wilson is trying to show that he’s got more to offer than fights and physicality
Faceoff: 3 p.m., Verizon Center
TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM
Here is the Capitals’ lineup as it stood yesterday at practice without Laich, and how it will likely look this afternoon.
Goal: Halak, Holtby.
Scratches: John Erskine and Brooks Laich
LTIR: Aaron Volpatti (left shoulder) and Mikhail Grabovski (left ankle).