The Washington Capitals are still searching for their first victory of the preseason and will look to capture it against the Bruins on Wednesday. Washington held a game-day skate with their now 27-man roster before heading up to Boston.
Goaltender Ilya Samsonov was one of the players out on the ice before the team’s morning skate, getting reps in with Beck Malenstyn. He stayed on the ice for the entire practice session, but will not travel with the team to Boston and had missed the last two training camp sessions with a lower-body injury.
The Russian netminder said he started to feel a bit of pain in the second period against the Flyers but feels confident that he’s improving and can be ready by the season opener vs. New York.
“We’ll see, you know, because we just [go] day-by-day. Yeah, I feel good right now,” Samsonov said. “I was skating today, feel normal, nothing pain. I think will [work] 100 percent.
“I’m understand where I need to be better for sure,” Samsonov added in regards to returning to game action. “We have time before season. We have really important game with the Rangers, everybody knows it. And we’ll keep it forward.”
In other injury news, Martin Fehervary was not on the ice at all on Wednesday. He left Monday’s 4-1 preseason loss to the Devils with an upper-body injury. Head coach Peter Laviolette said, however, that he hopes to see the Slovak blueliner get another exhibition game in and he isn’t too concerned about his status.
Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre were also out on the ice early, practicing some plays down at the other end. The two continue to maintain a healthy dynamic on and off the ice as the stakes get higher and the competition tightens down the stretch at training camp.
The lines resembled very much what we could see on opening night:
On Wednesday, McMichael will get to dress as the third line center between Sheary and Oshie, with Lapierre sitting out. Laviolette said that this doesn’t indicate that McMichael is the favorite and that there will be changes to the lineup.
“We want to make sure young players are rested as well when they play in the games to give themselves the best chance to show what they can do,” Laviolette said, adding, “What we’re trying to do is put them in a position where they’re fresh and they feel like they have good energy and good pop so they can show exactly what they want to do.”
Taking that into account, it sounds like the plan is for Lapierre to get to play in Friday’s game and that both will get another turn to show what they can do before the 2021-22 campaign kicks off on Oct. 13.
Both have impressed greatly at training camp and through the preseason and are both likely to win spots on this opening night roster, especially with Nicklas Backstrom unlikely to be available to start the year. There’s still no definitive update on No. 19, who has yet to hit the ice through camp.
Another notable combination was the top defensive pairing. Van Riemsdyk will again play on his off-side as the LHD alongside No. 1 defenseman Carlson.
TVR has earned significant praise since coming to the Capitals, with head coach Peter Laviolette and general manager Brian MacLellan praising his effort. He was also rewarded with a two-year extension and was one of the three defensemen on Washington’s protected list in the Seattle expansion draft.
Van Riemsdyk said playing with Carlson is a major help, especially when it comes to playing on his left.
“[Carlson] is the type of guy that makes it pretty easy to play with,” van Riemsdyk said. “He’s [always] making quick, simple plays, he’s never in his own end and that’s a lot of his own doing.
“[I] just kind of read off him, communicate with him, he’s an easy guy to play with,” TVR added. “He’s extremely smart and he always seems to make the right play, be in the right spot.”