Laich, Erat sit out against Lightning

Laich, Erat sit out against Lightning
April 7, 2013, 6:15 pm
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Sidelined this weekend by a lower body injury, Capitals left wing Brooks Laich will see a Detroit specialist in D.C. on Tuesday to discuss how to move forward with an injury suffered Thursday night against the Islanders.

Capitals coach Adam Oates said the appointment with the specialist is to “get an evaluation on where he is,” adding Laich would be out “a few days.”

“We can’t quite get a handle on what it is,” Oates said. “He just doesn’t feel good. He’s a little sore everywhere, but not necessarily where he was in the groin. That’s why he’s seeing a specialist that he’s been seeing.”

Caps left wing Martin Erat also will sit out Sunday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning [7 p.m., CSN+] with a lower body injury suffered Saturday night in the Caps’ 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

Erat, who was acquired Wednesday from the Nashville Predators, was checked from behind into the boards by Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

“Marty felt way better than he anticipated, so I don't think it's going to be too long," Oates said.

With Laich and Erat unavailable, Oates is expected to use Eric Fehr on a second line with center Mike Ribeiro and right wing Troy Brouwer.

Jason Chimera will remain on a third line with Mathieu Perreault  and Joel Ward.

Chimera, who has one goal in 37 games, returned to the lineup Saturday after being a healthy scratch against the Islanders.

 “I thought Chimmer played one of his best games of the year [Saturday], Oates said.

“Sometimes, whether it’s a wakeup call or just when you sit up top, you get a better vantage point of seeing the game. All of a sudden we had an injury and he’s going to be asked to play more minutes tonight, so hopefully, he’s in a good place.”

Laich’s injury also means more minutes for Fehr, who has six goals in 31 games this season.

“He was playing good, so he’s going to jump up there,” Oates said.

Oates seemed disappointed that disciplinary action was not taken against Gudbranson on the blind hit on Erat, which came well after Erat released the puck and could have resulted in serious injury.

“It looks very dangerous,” Oates said. “It looks like a definitely reviewable situation. You don’t want to comment on it because you don’t want to get yourself in trouble, but it was very dangerous. I’m sure [Brendan] Shanahan’s looking at it.”

Oates said it’s the responsibility of forwards to protect themselves and in the case of Erat, he might have left himself vulnerable against an inexperienced defenseman.
“It’s kind of the new wave of play,” Oates said. “Guys think that they’re safe there, and it’s just kind of crept into the game where guys take those hits, and I think it’s because they feel safe.”

Neuvy returns: Michal Neuvirth [2-5-1, 2.99 GAA, .899 save percentage] will get his first start since March 16 and his first start at Verizon Center since Feb. 5. He is 1-2-0 in three home starts this season.

“Hopefully, he has a good game for us,”  Oates said. “That’s all we’re asking. We’ve talked all along – you’re going to need both your goalies. It’s just a fact. We need him to play.”

Ben Bishop, acquired by the Lightning from the Ottawa Senators at the NHL trade deadline, will start for Tampa. In two games for the Lightning he is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA. .958 save percentage and one shutout.