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Capitals Game Day: Schultz’s Status Up In Air, Samsonov Starts Vs. Flyers

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Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz

As the Washington Capitals look to put a rough Thursday in New York behind them, they face some more questions heading into a Saturday matinee with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Head coach Peter Laviolette said that Justin Schultz is questionable for Saturday’s tilt. Schultz suffered an upper-body injury on Feb. 15 against Nashville and left that game early. He returned for Thursday’s loss to the Rangers, but he took a maintenance day on Friday and could be out again.

“We’re working through some things in the room,” head coach Peter Laviolette said.

Meanwhile, Ilya Samsonov will make his sixth straight start and play in his ninth consecutive game for Washington. Samsonov has seen ups and downs with regard to his game, but he has put up a handful of strong starts on the road. He surrendered four goals on 21 shots (.810 save percentage) against New York. But before that game, he had a .921 save percentage over his last four starts.

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T.J. Oshie will stay in the lineup after making his return on Thursday. Laviolette said Oshie feels good and is still getting back into the rhythm of game action. Oshie missed over a month of action after suffering an upper-body injury against the New York Islanders on Jan. 15. He has been limited to just 19 games this season due to a number of injuries but has 13 points over that span and has made his presence known when in the lineup.

“I felt a little tired if I’m being honest. Long time off the ice, haven’t skated a lot really the whole season. Honestly, I felt like my timing and reach for the most part were a lot better than I expected them to be,” Oshie said of returning. “That game shape’s not there, the stopping and starting… better than I thought and just really happy to be back with the guys.”

Saturday’s game will be a key one for the Capitals, who are 28-16-9 and sit just one point in front of the Boston Bruins for the first Wild Card spot. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets are now just 10 points behind and are red-hot right now, which could make the race even tighter down the stretch. Washington has a major opportunity to capitalize against Philly, who has lost six straight and sits last in the Metro with a 15-26-10 record (40 points).

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