The Washington Capitals will see one key defenseman return from injury while another draws out against the Winnipeg Jets. Dmitry Orlov will return to the lineup, but Erik Gustafsson will miss Sunday’s tilt with an upper-body injury.
Gustafsson, whose 10 assists are tied for the team lead among defensemen, left Sunday’s morning skate early. He is day-to-day,.
Orlov had missed the last 16 games with a lingering lower-body injury. The 31-year-old last played on Nov. 5 against the Arizona Coyotes but left after the first period. He has played in 13 games this season and has five assists and a +/- of plus-3.
Orlov’s return is welcome for Washington, who are dealing with a myriad of injuries on the defensive front. Martin Fehervary is day-to-day with an upper-body injury he suffered on Dec. 3 against the Calgary Flames, and he is on the injured reserve. The Capitals are also without Alex Alexeyev, who is dealing with an upper-body injury and is on the IR after taking an elbow to the head from Jamie Oleksiak in Friday’s win over the Seattle Kraken.
Amid all of these injuries on the blue line, Washington recalled d-men Lucas Johansen and Dylan McIlrath from the AHL’s Hershey Bears to help fill in. However, with Orlov ready to draw in, McIlrath was returned to Hershey. Orlov was subsequently activated from the IR.
Darcy Kuemper is also day-to-day with an upper-body injury and on the IR after having taken an elbow to the head from Tyler Toffoli on Dec. 3 against Calgary. However, he is eligible to come off the IR as soon as Tuesday if he’s ready, and he skated on Sunday.
Here are the lines for Sunday’s tilt:
Alex Ovechkin-Dylan Strome-Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Lars Eller-Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov-John Carlson
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Nick Jensen
Lucas Johansen-Matt Irwin
Puck drop between the Capitals and Jets is at 7 p.m. ET at Canadian Life Centre.