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Sunday skate: Capitals' Semin demoted

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Sunday skate: Capitals' Semin demoted

NEW YORK News and notes from Sundays 11 a.m. practice at Madison Square Garden:

Semin demoted: It may be just a one-day slap on the wrist, but right wing Alex Semin practiced on a fourth line with Keith Aucoin and Mike Knuble.

Semin was one of the Capitals best two-way forwards in the first-round series against the the Bruins and led the team with three goals. But he took two ill-advised penalties, including a retaliatory love tap to the back of Ryan Callahans legs that felled him like a cherry tree.

With Semin on the fourth line, Joel Ward moved onto a checking line with Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks. The top line had Brooks Laich between Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer and the second line had Nicklas Backstrom between Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera.

Schultz back in?: Jeff Schultz practiced alongside defense partner Dennis Wideman , which could mean hell replace John Erskine in the lineup for Monday nights Game 2.

Erskine played just 8:17 on Saturday and was even with one shot and one hit. Schultz has no points and is a minus-4 in four playoff games. The other defense pairings remained the same with John Carlson and Karl Alzner, and Roman Hamrlik and Mike Green.

Shots in the dark: The 14 shots allowed by the Capitals were by far their lowest of the playoffs. They allowed an average of 35 shots in their seven-game series against the Boston Bruins. The Caps managed just 18 shots, which was their second-lowest total of the playoffs behind the 17 shots they managed in the series opener against the Bruins. The Caps are 0-3 in the playoffs when outshooting their opponents.

Unplugged: The Capitals got off to a rough start on their power play, going 0-for-4, including a 33-second stretch with a two-man advantage. They are now 3-for-23 in the playoffs. We just need to move the puck quicker, said Caps defenseman Mike Green.

Killers: The Capitals penalty kill, led by Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks and Brooks Laich, continued its excellence, shutting down the Rangers on all four of their power plays. The Caps have allowed just two goals on 27 shorthanded situations.

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Game 44: Capitals at Penguins game time, how to watch, open thread

Game 44: Capitals at Penguins game time, how to watch, open thread

The Capitals will look to earn their 10th straight win on Monday but the Pittsburgh Penguins stand in their way. Here is everything you need to know:

What: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.

When: Monday, 1/16 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

How to Watch: Capitals vs. Penguins will be broadcast on NBCSN.

When is the Capitals-Penguins game?

The Capitals (29-9-5) play the Pittsburgh Penguins (26-11-5) Monday at 7:00 p.m.

What channel is the Capitals-Penguins game on?

The Capitals-Penguins game is broadcast on NBCSN.

Where can I stream the Capitals-Penguins game?

The Capitals-Flyers game, along with Caps Extra, is available to stream live via the NBC Sports live stream.

What are the lines for the Capitals-Penguins game?

Based Sunday's game, here are the projected lines:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Defense
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov
Nate Schmidt - Taylor Chorney

Goalies
Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches
Chandler Stephenson, John Carlson

Capitals-Penguins Open Thread

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals Digital Producer JJ Regan and the CSN Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and CSN's Facebook page.

Keep up with all the action here with Capitals GameZone and join in on the conversation here with Capitals Pulse.

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Caps' John Carlson out tonight in Pittsburgh

Caps' John Carlson out tonight in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH—Capitals defenseman John Carlson will miss Monday’s game with a lower body injury, Coach Barry Trotz said after an optional morning skate at PPG Paints Arena.

It will mark the first game the defenseman has missed this season. The nature of the injury remains unclear, but Trotz indicated that the Caps, who are going for their 10th straight win, do not believe Carlson will miss much more time, if any at all.

“We’ve got a few days before our next game,” Trotz said. “He’s close, but I just think long-term we keep him out tonight. I expect him to be ready to go” in St. Louis on Thursday.

Carlson was not among the handful of participants in Monday’s pregame skate. The big-minute blue liner left Sunday’s 5-0 win over the Flyers after the first period. He also left Thursday’s practice early with a lower body injury, though it’s not known whether the two are connected.

Carlson leads the Caps in average ice time (22:53) and his fellow defenseman in points with 25 (5 goals, 20 assists).

The 27-year-old has not missed a game due to injury since last March. For the Capitals, who have been the NHL’s healthiest team this season, Carlson’s absence will signal just the team’s 11th man game lost to injury.

RELATED: 3 bold predictions: Can the Caps continue dominating the Penguins in Pittsburgh?

With Carlson out, that means seventh defenseman Taylor Chorney will see his first action in seven games. Trotz also hinted that veteran Brooks Orpik will take on a bigger role against his former team.

“We’ll probably move Brooks Orpik up, give him a few more minutes,” Trotz said. “He’s played very, very well for us.”

The Penguins, meantime, will also be without their No. 1 defenseman. Kris Letang (left knee) was placed on injured reserve on Monday morning. Coach Mike Sullivan says Letang is week-to-week.