The Washington Capitals are kicking off their longest road trip of the season on Saturday in New Jersey, and they will be without Dmitry Orlov to kick it off.
Orlov did not join the team to open the six-game road swing and will miss his 10th straight game against the Devils as he continues to deal with a lower-body injury, per The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell. He could join the team at some point, but it remains unclear when he’ll be back.
The 31-year-old hasn’t played since Nov. 5 against the Arizona Coyotes. He left early on in the game while dealing with the injury. Since then, he’s been skating on and off at practices.
Through 13 games this season, Orlov has five assists.
It is a tough void to fill for Washington, who is also without the services of several key players in Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Connor Brown among others. Matt Irwin has been Orlov’s understudy and has been skating on the third pairing with Trevor van Riemsdyk. That duo appears to be clicking over the last couple of games.
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Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson also didn’t make the trip, per Pell.
Backstrom has been joining the team for some morning skates as he continues to recover from hip resurfacing surgery. He has been skating in full gear and proving doubters wrong, working on game situations and shooting drills, moving his feet and working wonders with the puck while sporting a non-contact jersey. There’s still no exact timetable for his return following the experimental procedure that has ended some careers, though he is optimistic he will play again, maybe even this season.
Wilson, who is still recovering from ACL surgery, has yet to skate with the team. He has been skating by himself and continues to make individual progress. His initial 6-8 month timetable pegged him for a late December/early January return. It’s unclear if that remains the case given he has yet to join the team for a full skate.
The Capitals face New Jersey, who leads the Metro, at 7 p.m. ET at Prudential Center.