The Washington Capitals appear ready to see some lineup changes on Friday as they face Braden Holtby and the Dallas Stars.
Washington held an optional morning skate on Friday in Dallas. Head coach Peter Laviolette said the team was still working through things in the locker room, but that there would be tweaks as Joe Snively draws in and Vitek Vanecek starts, per The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell.
Snively was brought up to the taxi squad from the Hershey Bears on Thursday. In 35 games with Hershey this season, Snively had recorded 15 goals and 38 points, which rank third overall in the AHL.
The Herndon, V.A. native made his NHL debut in D.C. on Dec. 19, where he also registered his first NHL assist on a Connor McMichael goal.
Meanwhile, this will be Vanecek’s fifth start over the last seven games. In his last five games overall, Vanecek has a .929 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA. Ilya Samsonov started on Wednesday against San Jose and stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 SV%).
Braden Holtby will get the start for the Stars in his first-ever game against his former team. Dallas honored Holtby prior to the game with a silver stick for 500 NHL games played, with 468 of those games being with Washington. Holtby has been strong this season with a 9-8-1 record and a .917 save percentage and 2.60 GAA.
Nick Jensen (week-to-week) also took part in the team’s optional and has been skating for the last three days. The 31-year-old blueliner suffered an upper-body injury against Boston and has been on the injured reserve and listed as week-to-week. However, he is eligible to come off the IR against Dallas.
Getting Jensen back would be a major boost for the blue line, considering he has played an integral part on the top-4 this season while skating on the second pairing alongside Dmitry Orlov. In 31 games this season, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound defenseman has three goals and 11 points and leads the Capitals with a +/- of plus-20.