Laviolette Explains Why Mantha Is A Healthy Scratch For Capitals
Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette shared his thoughts on scratching Anthony Mantha.
WASHINGTON — With Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson coming back from injury, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette was faced with deciding who would draw out of the lineup. With 14 forwards left on the roster and room for just 12 to dress on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Laviolette ultimately made his decision: Anthony Mantha, along with Nicolas Aube-Kubel, would sit.
It marks the first time in his Capitals tenure that he will be a healthy scratch. Ultimately, Laviolette said that it was just the way things ended up shaking out.
"These are obviously tough decisions. There's 14 forwards now with Protas and Snively not being here and 14 NHL players that have helped our team be successful," Laviolette said. "Two of those players are now available coming off of injury and it just made for tough decisions."
Prior to Sunday, Mantha had played in all 42 games this season, dishing nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points. The 28-year-old has points in three of his last four games, but he has also been experiencing inconsistency over the course of the season and has also struggled to finish on his chances.
In Friday's 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators, Mantha appeared to be benched after being on the ice for Nashville's first two goals. He played just 9:48 minutes, the lowest amount of ice time among skaters.
Laviolette didn't dive into specifics with regard to the 6-5 winger, but said that Mantha and Aube-Kubel are two players who have shown they are worthy of lineup spots. But with too many cooks in the kitchen, they were the odd men out.
"I have no problem if either one of those guys were in the lineup today, Kubel or Mantha, but they're not. I had to make decisions, and that's where I started."