The Washington Capitals are back in Sunrise for Game 5, as their first round against the Florida Panthers turned into exactly what they figured: a long, though series that has gone from a best-of-7 to a best-of-3. Washington did have the opportunity to go up 3-1 and push the Cats to the brink last time around, but Florida stole Game 4 in overtime to even things at 2-2.
Now, the Capitals will get their second chance at moving within one victory of a trip to the second round for the first time since they won the Cup in 2018, and they will stick with what has worked. Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury and again wasn’t on the ice for the team’s morning. Taking that into account, Washington stuck with the same lines as last game as it continues to make do without No. 43, per NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti.
Here are what the lines have looked like without Wilson over these last two games:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-Anthony Mantha
Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Conor Sheary
Johan Larsson-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Justin Schultz
Ilya Samsonov will make his third consecutive start. Since coming in relief for Vitek Vanecek, Samsonov has been stellar and a saving grace in goal for the Capitals.
READ MORE ON WHN: Samsonov Reflects On Support From Capitals, ‘Close To Crying’ After Chants, First Win
For Florida, the Panthers made a couple of tweaks to their forward lines with Mason Marchment missing the morning skate. He is a game-time decision as he deals with a lingering injury, per Cats head coach Andrew Brunette. The defensive pairings changed, too.
Here are what the lines look like, per Florida Hockey Now’s Colby Guy:
Carter Verhaeghe-Aleksander Barkov-Anthony Duclair
Jonathan Huberdeau-Sam Bennett-Claude Giroux
Maxim Mamin-Anton Lundell-Sam Reinhart
Noel Acciari-Eetu Luostarinen-Patric Hornqvist
Ben Chiarot-Aaron Ekblad
Gustav Forsling-MacKenzie Weegar
Brandon Montour-Radko Gudas
Sergei Bobrovsky gets the nod for the Panthers. Spencer Knight is the backup.
When it comes to players to watch for Washington, keep an eye on T.J. Oshie, who has been an X-Factor at both ends of the ice while helping fill in for Wilson. The 35-year-old has three goals and an assist through four games to open the postseason. Also watch for Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, who have a point in all four games so far.
On the Florida side of the coin, watch for Carter Verhaeghe, who is coming off a two-goal performance and also net the overtime winner. Aaron Ekblad is also coming off one of his best games of late.