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Capitals Game Day

Capitals Game Day: Line Changes With Brown, Kuznetsov Out vs. Senators



Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals are back up North, as they get back into game action on Thursday against the Ottawa Senators. And, as they face a Canadian club for the fourth straight game, they will be missing quite a few key pieces, which has led to a lineup shakeup.

Along with Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin, Connor Brown is also now out long-term after suffering a lower-body injury in the Capitals win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Not only that, but Evgeny Kuznetsov will also be out of the mix for Thursday as he serves a one-game suspension for his high stick on Kyle Burroughs.

Taking all of that into account, Washington had to make some changes to their forward lines. Also, head coach Peter Laviolette tweaked the defensive pairings, as the blue line has struggled slightly to open the season.

There was an optional skate on Thursday, so the team did not run lines. However, they’re not much different from Wednesday’s practice, where call-up Beck Malenstyn served as the extra forward.

Alex Ovechkin-Lars Eller-Conor Sheary

Joe Snively-Dylan Strome-T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson-Connor McMichael-Anthony Mantha

Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Dmitry Orlov-John Carlson

Erik Gustafsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper

Charlie Lindgren

Darcy Kuemper is likely to start in net. He is coming off back-to-back victories and is 2-1-0 to open his tenure in D.C. While his numbers aren’t great given some unfortunate bounces and goals out of his control, his play has been strong between the pipes for the Capitals.

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When it comes to players to watch on the Washington side, look out for that top line. Alex Ovechkin is coming off a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) and has five points through four games to open the season. Conor Sheary is leading the team with three goals, and Lars Eller had a strong outing with his first of the season against Vancouver on Monday as well. Look for them to make an impact.

But, there are two notable additions to also keep an eye on: Connor McMichael and Joe Snively will make their season debuts. McMichael had a so-so preseason but felt like he improved toward the end. After adding more strength this offseason, look for him to make a statement in his first game of his sophomore season. Snively, meanwhile, will play in his first NHL regular-season game since Feb. 28. The Herndon, V.A. native had seven points in his first 12 NHL games, but wrist surgery ended his rookie campaign early. He is hungry to make a statement and get back in the mix.

Both McMichael and Snively will get a chance to compete for a full-time role in the lineup with Brown injured, so watch for them to prove themselves in a game like this.

What’s Next For Capitals, Lineup With Brown Out Long Term?

On the Ottawa side of the coin, watch for Claude Giroux, Brady Tkachuk and Alex DeBrincat, as well as youngsters Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Tim Stützle.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET at Canadian Tire Centre.