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Capitals Game Day Notebook: Team Sticking With What Worked vs. Bolts, Cholowski Arrives

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Capitals defensemen Dennis Cholowski and Matt Irwin

The Washington Capitals are facing the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The last time these teams met was in a round-robin game in the 2020 playoff bubble, and it will be Washington’s first out-of-division matchup since staying within the Metropolitan Division last season.

The Capitals are sticking with what worked in their dominant season opener, where they defeated the New York Rangers 5-1. Hendrix Lapierre will again get the call at third-line center between Conor Sheary and T.J. Oshie. Vitek Vanecek is also starting in goal.

“It was a real good game and a lot of guys played really well, and I think when that happens, they deserve nad earned the right to go back in there and play,” Laviolette said. “We’ll go game by game but to answer your question, I don’t think we’ll get to that where we’re cemented and somebody is sitting 15 games and they haven’t seen the lineup yet. It’s just coming off that game and I thought there was a lot of good things.”

Here are the projected lines for Saturday’s tilt:

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson

Anthony Mantha-Lars Eller-Daniel Sprong

Conor Sheary-Hendrix Lapierre-T.J. Oshie

Carl Hagelin-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary-John Carlson

Trevor van Riemsdyk-Justin Schultz

Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen

Vitek Vanecek

Ilya Samsonov

Connor McMichael is again a healthy scratch. Beck Malenstyn, who was on the opening night roster, was loaned to the Hershey Bears on Thursday after the Dennis Cholowski waiver pickup.

“A young player, first-round pick and good size to him, good skating mobility,” head coach Peter Laviolette said of the 6-2, 197-pound blueliner following his acquisition. “Just an opportunity to have him become part of our organization and see where he fits in. So we’re excited to get him here.”

READ MORE ON WHN: With Lapierre-Mania Sweeping D.C., Capitals Seeing Next Generation At Perfect Time

Cholowski took the ice for Washington for the first time after arriving in D.C. on Friday afternoon. The former Seattle Kraken d-man was skating on an extra pairing with Matt Irwin, and both will be healthy scratches against the Bolts. Chowlowski will wear No. 38 with the Capitals and will take warm-ups Saturday to get a feel for Capital One Arena.

The 23-year-old blueliner said there hasn’t been a set conversation about his role yet, but it was nice to be on the ice and get to skating again after a couple days off. He also enjoyed reuniting with old friends in Mantha and Jensen, who he played with in Detroit.

“It’s exciting. Obviously this team is established and you know, it’s been top of the league for 10-plus years, so it’s really exciting to be here,” Cholowski said.

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