ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals will return to Capital One Arena to close out the preseason, and with opening night just a week away, the team will have several regulars dressed and some fringe players mixed in against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET, and the game will be on NBC Sports Washington.
Here’s everything to know, storylines to watch, players to keep an eye on and more.
Washington Capitals Storylines
Darcy Kuemper will get the start, with Charlie Lindgren backing up. Kuemper will play the full 60 minutes with Washington. This also marks his second game in a Capitals sweater. Kuemper was a perfect 9-for-9 in his debut while splitting action with Lindgren in Friday’s tilt against the Red Wings, a 2-0 victory where the duo combined for a 21-save shutout.
The Capitals should also get to try out some line combinations in game action. The Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Connor Brown line will likely get its first look in game action after some impressive practices. For Brown, he believes one of his most important roles on that line is stealing pucks and helping carry the play up ice, while maintaining pressure and winning those puck battles.
Not only that, but the team will also get to run its first power-play unit. Evgeny Kuznetsov will operate the half wall, Dylan Strome will be at the goal line and down low, T.J. Oshie will be in the bumper spot and Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson will be at the points.
Players To Watch
Aliaksei Protas, meanwhile, appears set to suit up in his fifth consecutive preseason game. The 6-6, 235-pound forward has had a standout camp and is one of the likely players to crack the opening night roster. Other fringe players on the roster for Wednesday’s tilt include Joe Snively and Henrik Borgstrom.
Another player to keep an eye on is Connor McMichael. The 21-year-old is under pressure to close out training camp, as the rising sophomore has seen Dylan Strome take the lead in the second-line center competition and now has to stand out to keep his spot in the lineup with Protas and more on the rise.
Also keep an eye on Strome and Connor Brown. Both have been outstanding in their time this preseason, and the new additions are looking to make a major impact as they start anew in D.C.
Washington Capitals Line Combinations
It was an optional morning skate on Wednesday, so there were no lines run. Anthony Mantha, Marcus Johansson and Erik Gustafsson got in extra work long after practice, so it appears they’re out against Detroit. Mantha will not play in order to spend time with his first-born daughter, who he and his wife welcomed on Tuesday.
Here is the projected lineup, considering who’s still skating:
Forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Borgstrom, Dylan Strome, Lars Eller, Garnet Hathaway, Connor McMichael, Connor Brown, Aliaksei Protas, Conor Sheary, T.J. Oshie, Joe Snively, Evgeny Kuznetsov
Defensemen: Nick Jensen, Dmitry Orlov, Martin Fehervary, Lucas Johansen, Trevor van Riemsdyk, John Carlson
Goaltenders: Darcy Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren