Mantha Appears To Be Healthy Scratch For Capitals With Backstrom & Wilson Back
Washington Capitals forward Anthony Mantha appears to be a healthy scratch on Sunday with Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson set to return.
WASHINGTON — With Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson back in the mix, the Washington Capitals are making adjustments to the lineup and moving things around to accommodate their returns. And one of those moves is scratching Anthony Mantha.
Mantha was taking the scratches skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Sunday, per The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir and working with the extras. It looks like for the first time this season — and for the first time in his Capitals tenure — he will be a healthy scratch.
The 28-year-old has been inconsistent in his fully healthy season for Washington, and he has just nine goals and 14 assists through 42 games this season. However, he'd been on the scoresheet over this last stretch with points in three of his last four games.
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Back in Friday's loss to the Predators, Mantha was on the ice for both of Nashville's first-period goals, and in turn, he appeared to be benched. Mantha skated just 9:48 minutes, the lowest amount of ice time on the team.
Head coach Peter Laviolette was tight-lipped about the reason behind Mantha's limited ice time.
The bench boss faced a tough decision when it came to scratching Mantha, as he had to choose two skaters to sit with Backstrom and Wilson coming back. Sonny Milano has been stellar of late with four goals in his last eight games and three points in his last three outings. Nicolas Aune-Kubel has also been strong lately, though it appears he'll be sitting out as well.
Since joining the Capitals at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline as part of the trade for Jakub Vrana, the Quebec native has 22 goals and 32 assists for 54 points in 93 games. General manager Brian MacLellan also said at the start of December that he wants more from Mantha.
"Our team is different when he's on," MacLellan said.