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Capitals Notebook

Capitals Notebook: McIlrath Draws In, Laviolette Explains Recall

The Capitals will see Dylan McIlrath draw into the mix, the forward lines stay the same as Joe Snively earns another game and head coach Peter Laviolette explains the recall.



ARLINGTON, V.A. — It's been a long time since Dylan McIlrath has played in the NHL, with his last game in the Show coming on Dec. 10, 2019. After going 10th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, things haven't gone exactly according to plan, as he's been in the AHL for the majority of his pro career working to prove that he belongs at the highest level. He'll get that opportunity on Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

With Alex Ovechkin out indefinitely and a spot open with him being designated non-roster status, the Capitals recalled the Hershey Bears captain on Wednesday and will have him draw in against a heavy Florida team as he skates on the third pairing with Martin Fehervary. Head coach Peter Laviolette explained the decision to bring McIlrath up, saying that he's liked what he's seen from him this season.

"He's played really well down there. He's played top minutes, top pair. First penalty killer out the door, playing really well," Laviolette said. "Right-shot defenseman comes up, brings a different element because he's a bigger guy and has a bit of a different game.

"Like I said, his minutes right now, first out the door, he plays against the toughest opponents. He's a good penalty killer, good leader. You have an opportunity with seven defensemen here to call somebody up and take a look."

In 66 career NHL games, McIlrath has three goals, two assists and a +/- of plus-2. The 6-5 blueliner has also racked up 99 hits and 121 penalty minutes. Down in Hershey this season, he is wearing the "C" and has 10 assists and 83 PIM.

Right now, McIlrath says he's in a good place mentally and is confident in his game, and his plan is to take things one day at a time.

"I'm a simple stay-at-home defenseman that plays with a little edge, so that's what I try to do," McIlrath said, adding, "You never know when you're gonna play your last NHL game, so I just try to enjoy every moment in the NHL as best I can.

"Consistency, that's been my biggest thing throughout my career," he added. "I've shown spurts that I can play in the NHL and I've played well, but there's times that I can struggle, too. So I just really tried to hone in on my game and not stray away from that too much."

Besides that change, the lineup will remain the same as it was on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, and Darcy Kuemper will start. Here are the lines from morning skate.

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