ANAHEIM, Calif. – Patrick Wey will make his fourth NHL appearance Tuesday night as the Capitals kick off their California road trip against the Anaheim Ducks.
Coach Adam Oates has opted to sit rookie Connor Carrick, 19, who has played in 30 games this season but has struggled to find consistency throughout the season like Washington’s entire defensive corps. In each of the last six games, he’s been on the ice for at least one goal against at even strength and was on for both five-on-five tallies by the Maple Leafs in Washington’s 4-2 win Sunday.
“There’s probably just been a couple reads where I think he’s been trying to overthink: ‘What does the coach want here’ ” Oates said. “Versus a reaction, which is kind of a little bit of our fault because we do that every day and sometimes you just need a little break.”
Carrick owns the third-worst Corsi-for percentage (44.8) among Capitals players who have appeared in at least 20 games this season – only Alexander Urbom (44.2), now back with New Jersey, and Aaron Volpatti (39.4) are lower.
It’s not uncommon for young players in their first professional season to hit a wall as the games and workload pile up over the course of a year, but despite the decision to sit him as a healthy scratch Oates said he doesn’t believe Carrick has reached that point.
“I think there always is [a ceiling for young players], I’m not sure he’s reached it,” Oates said. “I just talked to him out there and I said don’t read into it too much. [He’s] played good hockey but he’s had a tremendous amount of hockey this year. Sometimes it’s good to sit upstairs for a game or two to just get a different perspective. He’s going to be fine, just a little break.”
>> The Capitals will continue to roll with Jaroslav Halak, who will make a sixth consecutive start Tuesday against the Ducks.
He hasn’t had much success against Anaheim recently, going 2-4 against them over the last three seasons allowing 17 goals on 122 shots (.860 save percentage) in those contests combined. In his last appearance against the Ducks on Dec. 7, 2013, Halak allowed three goals on eight shots in the first 7 minutes 29 seconds before he was pulled from an eventual 5-2 St. Louis loss.
>> Anaheim will be without defenseman Cam Fowler, who had an MRI exam on his left knee Tuesday and is out indefinitely. The Ducks will have another experienced defenseman in the fold, though, as veteran Stephane Robidas makes his Anaheim debut after being acquired from Dallas at the trade deadline.
>> Projected lineups for both teams:
Teemu Selanne-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Daniel Winnik-Saku Koivu-Andrew Cogliano
Matt Beleskey-Mathieu Perreault-Jakob Silfverberg
Patrick Maroon-Nick Bonino-Kyle Palmieri
Hampus Lindholm-Ben Lovejoy
Luca Sbisa-Francois Beauchemin
Bryan Allen-Stephane Robidas
Jonas Hiller will start, Frederik Andersen will back up.