Mantha Set To Be Scratch Again, Capitals Make Slight Tweak vs. Coyotes
Washington Capitals forward Anthony Mantha will be a healthy scratch for the fourth time in six games as the team takes on the Arizona Coyotes.
It looks like Anthony Mantha will be the odd man out once again, this time in Arizona as the Washington Capitals take on the Arizona Coyotes to open a three-game road swing.
Mantha appears set to be a healthy scratch for the fourth time in six games, as Nicolas Aube-Kubel will remain in the mix following his return to the lineup on Tuesday following four straight scratches. Aliaksei Protas, who was called up to provide more center depth with Nic Dowd out "for a bit," is the other forward scratch and Alex Alexeyev is in for Matt Irwin, based on morning skate lines via The Washington Post's Samantha Pell.
It also looks like the combinations will remain the same as what they were in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild, with NAK remaining on the top line and Evgeny Kuznetsov remaining as the fourth-line center.
Here's what Laviolette had to say on Tuesday about the changes:
"We wanted to make sure playing last night that we came back and we had speed on every line, we had physicality," Laviolette explained. "Minnesota is a heavier team in the league. They have some guys that have a heavy game, so it kind of set up Kubel to come in for me. I just thought that was his game — he's fast, he's physical, he got in a scrap, his line scored a goal. I thought he came in and had a positive impact on the game.
"You look at Kuzy's minutes, it's kind of the wording that you want to use, but you got four balanced lines just to roll them, because we played last night and wanted to make sure we had fresh bodies," Laviolette said. "We were playing a team that didn't play last night nd was going to be ready, and we wanted to make sure all lines [were] able to compete."
These are Tuesday's combinations that appear to be sticking, with Alexeyev in for Irwin:
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Sonny Milano-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary-Lars Eller-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev-Martin Fehervary
This is Washington's second and final meeting with the Coyotes this season and the team's first time playing at Mullett Arena, the 5,000-seat arena that is the new home to Arizona. The Capitals last faced the Coyotes in early November and gave up three unanswered goals — including a goal in the final minute of regulation — in a 3-2 loss. Alex Ovechkin and Mantha had the goals in those games.
Puck drop is at 9 p.m. ET.