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Capitals Game Day

Capitals vs. Lightning Preview: Lines, Who To Watch, What To Know

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Washington Capitals

On Friday, the Washington Capitals tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning had a little bit of everything: fights, grit, chippiness, 5-on-5 goals and a lot of special teams. Both sides will wait to see if that carries over into Sunday’s rematch in Tampa.

Washington (7-7-2) and the Lightning (7-6-1) haven’t gotten off to exactly the starts they’ve wanted, but the Capitals saw something of a breakthrough in Friday’s dominant 5-1 win over the Bolts. They not only got a full 60-minute effort but the even-strength scoring they’ve been looking for. Washington will look to carry that over Sunday, while Tampa will be looking for revenge.

While the lines will look mostly the same, the Capitals will see Connor McMichael draw back in, slotting into the third-line LW spot that had belonged to Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Aube-Kubel is serving a three-game suspension for his illegal check to the head on Cal Foote and will not play on the upcoming road trip. So, McMichael will get another opportunity to show what he can do.

Dmitry Orlov, who is on the IR, is on the road trip and is eligible to return but doesn’t appear ready to slot back in.

Here are the lines, per The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell:

Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Conor Sheary

Sonny Milano-Dylan Strome-Marcus Johansson

Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Anthony Mantha

Aliaksei Protas-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson-John Carlson

Martin Fehervary-Nick Jensen

Matt Irwin-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper, who has a 1.86 GAA, .936 save percentage and one shutout over his last seven starts, will be between the pipes again after a strong performance against the Lightning on Friday that saw him stop 28 of 29 shots (.966 save percentage).

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When it comes to players to watch on the Washington side, look out for Sonny Milano, who is coming off a two-goal, three-point outing against the Bolts on Friday. Alex Ovechkin is also still dangerous and has points in seven of his last eight games. Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha also did a lot to generate at both ends of the ice on Friday, so keep an eye on them, and Aliaksei Protas also showed off some great moves as well.

On the Tampa side, Nikita Kucherov will be looking to get back on the scoresheet after missing out on Friday. He has 21 points in 13 games and points in 11 of his last 12 games overall. Brayden Point has points in five of his last six, and Steven Stamkos is another tough player to try and shut down.

Also expect more grit and even some fights to potentially break out, as both teams still have high emotions from that bout on Friday that resulted in three fights.

All of the action will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN+. Fans can also listen on Caps Radio 24/7.

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