The Washington Capitals will be without Nic Dowd when they take on the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Friday and will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the second straight game.
Dowd took part in line rushes at the team’s morning skate Friday after having practiced over the last couple of days. The 31-year-old center suffered an upper-body injury against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 18. He appeared to suffer an ailment following an awkward hit on Brendan Smith. Dowd has missed the last two games due to the ailment and was also in a non-contact sweater. This will be his third game absent from the lineup.
With Dowd out, Washington has no extra forwards available, as T.J. Oshie is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and new acquisition Johan Larsson is on the injured reserve as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. Trevor van Riemsdyk is also unavailable and on the IR as well. TVR suffered a lower-body injury against Carolina.
Taking that into account, the Capitals will run with the 7-11 option for the second time in as many games. Both Michal Kempny and Matt Irwin will dress on defense. However, Irwin will be on the third pairing with Justin Schultz, while Kempny will be the seventh defenseman. Given how last game went with Irwin skating just 29 seconds, expect Kempny not to get that much ice time.
Here are the lines for Friday’s showdown in New York:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Marcus Johansson
Anthony Mantha-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby-Lars Eller-Garnet Hathaway
Connor McMichael-Conor Sheary
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Justin Schultz