ARLINGTON, V.A. — To the noise of stick taps and greetings from his former and current teammates, Marcus Johansson took the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for practice as a Capital for the first time in almost five years. He wore a smile as he went through a quick run-down of the team’s systems at the team’s morning skate prior to Tuesday’s tilt against the St. Louis Blues.
Johansson will hit the ground running with his former team, which he had skated with for seven years after being taken 24th overall in 2009. He will be on the top line, skating on the right side along with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin. He also skated on the second power-play unit, an area where the team hopes he can help in given his playmaking ability and ability on zone entries.
Beyond that, it looks like T.J. Oshie’s status is up in the air after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury. At practice, Oshie was skating on the third line with Connor McMichael and Conor Sheary. However, he estayed on the ice long after for extra work, indicating he may not be in. When asked, head coach Peter Laviolette said he still has to talk to trainers. Washington does not have extra forwards available, as Johan Larsson is still en route to D.C. and recovering from injury.
John Carlson, whose status was unclear after he went hard into the boards at the end of Sunday’s loss after a controversial cross-check from Jamie Benn, will return.
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Here are what the lines looked like at Tuesday’s morning skate:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Marcus Johansson
Anthony Mantha-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary-Connor McMichael-T.J. Oshie
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby-Lars Eller-Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Michal Kempny-Justin Schultz
Vitek Vanecek was the first Capitals goalie off the ice and will get the start against the St. Louis Blues. Ilya Samsonov will back up.
Players to watch include Ovechkin, who is on a four-game goal-scoring streak, and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has points in nine straight. For the Blues, keep an eye on David Perron, who has goals in six consecutive outings (nine total over that span) and is coming off a hat-trick. Jordan Kyrou is their leading scorer with 60 points in 57 games this season.