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2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Capitals-Panthers Game 6: Lines Tweak, Samsonov Starts With Caps On Brink



Capitals coach Peter Laviolette

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Despite the high stakes and puck drop for an elimination game just hours away, the Washington Capitals were rather calm and collected ahead at their morning skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.

The team was in good spirits while preparing for Game 6 against the Florida Panthers, and before rushes, was all ears as they gathered for a pre-skate huddle with head coach Peter Laviolette. Then, the Capitals saw some tweaks and changes, along with a couple of call-ups, as they look to keep their season alive and rebound following a disappointing Game 5 loss that saw them blow a 3-0 lead and surrender five unanswered goals.

Laviolette made some changes to the forward lines, taking T.J. Oshie off the top trio and promoting Conor Sheary. Then, in another move, Anthony Mantha, who started the series off strong and has since lost a bit of momentum, drew out of the top-6 and returned to the third line to work with Lars Eller and Connor McMichael. Mantha and Eller have had plenty of chemistry together, so the move could be to spark each of those forwards.

Here are what the lines looked like ahead of Game 6:

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Conor Sheary

Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie

Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Anthony Mantha

Johan Larsson-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary-John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen

Trevor van Riemsdyk-Justin Schultz

Ilya Samsonov will start in goal, marking his fourth straight start of the series. Vitek Vanecek will back up, and Pheonix Copley is the third goalie.

Tom Wilson, meanwhile, will miss his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury and remains day-to-day. He took the ice ahead of practice, though, and appeared to be making some progress.

READ MORE ON WHN: Tom Wilson Will Miss Game 6, But Making Progress For Capitals

Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Michal Kempny and Matt Irwin are the extras. Joe Snively is also back up from Hershey but remains on the long-term injured reserve.

When it comes to players to watch, look out for T.J. Oshie, who has a team-leading five goals in this series and had two in Game 5. Also keep an eye on Alex Ovechkin, who has one goal this series but five assists and points in each postseason game so far. On the Panthers side of the tilt, Carter Verhaeghe, who chipped in on all five Florida goals last game and has 10 points in this series, would be the name to watch, but he isn’t on the ice for morning skate. Also look out for Claude Giroux, who struck last game.