ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals are eager to get off to a better start in February and are sticking with what worked for the most part, while also navigating a couple more absences.
With the team preparing for a back-to-back against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers, Nick Jensen took part in the team’s practice on Monday, wearing a regular jersey and engaging in full contact. Jensen has been listed as week-to-week and on the injured while nursing an upper-body injury he suffered against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 20.
The 31-year-old blueliner looked like he was making quite a bit of progress, moving his feet well and going all-in during the team’s drills. However, he was not part of the line rushes and instead was skating as an extra and drawing in with Dennis Cholowski and Lucas Johansen, who came up to the taxi squad on Monday. Michal Kempny was missing from the blue line as he remains on COVID-19 protocol.
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Meanwhile, the team is still missing T.J. Oshie. He went down with an upper-body injury on Jan. 15 on Long Island, and despite skating individually prior to one of Washington’s optionals toward the end of the month, he has not been on the ice with the team since. He remains on the IR, where he has been four times this season. And as a result of that, he has played in just 18 games so far.
With No. 77 still out of the picture, the Capitals stuck with the same lines they went with for Friday’s 5-0 breakout win over the Dallas Stars. Here were the lines at Washington’s Monday practice:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary-Nicklas Backstrom-Daniel Sprong
Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Joe Snively
Carl Hagelin-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Justin Schultz
Matt Irwin-Trevor van Riemsdyk
Vitek Vanecek/Ilya Samsonov/Hunter Shepard
Aliaksei Protas and Brett Leason were working as extras on the forward lines. All three Capitals goalies were on the ice, and there’s no indication as to who will start on Tuesday. Vitek Vanecek has been stellar over his last six games with two shutouts, a .941 save percentage and 1.67 GAA.