Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen highlight the Caps’ lineup tonight against the Hurricanes at Capital One Arena.
Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have them lineup (based on the morning skate):
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Chiasson
Smith–Pelly – Beagle – W. Simpson
Vrana – Boyd – Connolly
Walker – Albert – Barber
Orpik – Hobbs
Djoos – Niskanen
Siegenthaler – Orlov
Some notes and observations from the morning skate:
- Fourth line center Jay Beagle will make his preseason debut tonight. He’s been battling some “tightness” according to Trotz. “Everyone’s tight right now,” Beagle told CSN after the morning skate. “I feel great. I’m ready to play tonight. It’s something the medical staff was really diligent about.”
- Vrana will skate in his third preseason contest…but in a much different role. In his first two appearances, the 2014 first rounder skated in the top-six (on Kuznetsov’s line and Backstrom’s line). Now’s getting a look on the third combo.
- Tom Wilson was originally slated to suit up but he was pulled from the lineup because he’s facing a disciplinary hearing with the NHL for his hit on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas on Friday. Instead, Wilson participated in the intrasquad scrimmage at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
- Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov will also get their first action of the exhibition season. Although Trotz has said they’ll start the regular season as a pair, each will play with a prospect vs. the Canes.
- Chiasson, who is on a PTO, has enjoyed a strong camp to this point. If he can add production tonight (while skating on a line with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov) that could go a long way toward him clinching a spot…if he hasn’t done so already. Chiasson was also on the first power play unit this morning.
- Former Capitals winger Justin Williams will skate on the Hurricanes' first line tonight.
- Another round of cuts is expected to come on Sunday.
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Capitals winger Tom Wilson will have a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player safety for interference on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas on Friday night.
Early in the third period of the Blues’ 4-0 preseason victory at Capital One Arena, Wilson curled around a teammate and blasted Thomas with a shoulder check in front of the visitors’ bench after Thomas appeared to lose control of the puck.
Wilson is listed a 6-4, 217; Thomas is 6-0, 192.
The Blues did not like the hit. Almost immediately, St. Louis winger Dmitri Jaskin challenged Wilson to a fight at center ice.
Wilson was not assessed a penalty for the hit on Thomas.
Asked if he was surprised that the NHL requested a hearing, Coach Barry Trotz said on Saturday morning, “I was a little bit. I didn’t really go through it. I saw it real briefly, just on the monitor like we always do, and I didn’t think much of it. But obviously they did.”
Trotz added: “I was a little surprised. Whatever decision that they have we’ll deal with it. They do a good job.”
Wilson, who has been fined but never suspended, was originally scheduled to be in the lineup vs. the Hurricanes on Saturday night. Brett Connolly will skate in his place.