“But if there’s any doubt we’re going to hold him off until the playoffs,” said Trotz, adding that Connolly would likely play against the Panthers.
Nate Schmidt has been paired with Karl Alzner in Carlson’s absence, and scored a goal in the Capitals’ 4-1 win over the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Either Schmidt or Taylor Chorney will fill Carlson’s spot against the Bruins, as Trotz said he wants to get Chorney, who last played on Feb. 25, on the ice for one of these last two games.
Connolly’s absence makes room for Paul Carey alongside Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky on the Capitals’ third line. The 28-year-old Carey joined the team before its recent five-game road trip and is vying to be its extra forward during the playoffs. The Capitals’ other option seems to be 21-year-old forward Jakub Vrana, who filled in on the third line while Burakovsky missed 15 games with a right hand injury.
Saturday will be Carey’s first appearance since his last recall from the Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey. Trotz, as with Chorney, said he planned to play Carey in one of these last two games even before Connolly got sick. After Friday’s practice, Carey had not been told if he will be on the playoff roster.
“It’s always good to get an opportunity to show what you can do,” Carey said. “We’re getting close here, just two more games. So I’m hoping I can stick around, definitely hoping.”
The opportunity to make his case comes near his hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts. Trotz told Carey to tell his parents he would be in the lineup so they would attend the game. Beyond that, Trotz isn’t sure how many friends and family members Carey will spot tickets for.
“It’s going to cost him a little bit, this game,” Trotz said. “It’s a little tough for him, he might have to cut it off and just do the parents.”