ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals got some good news on Friday at their final skate before a busy back-to-back weekend against New York and Vancouver.
Alex Ovechkin returned to the ice for practice and was in high spirits while the Capitals continued to fine-tune certain aspects of their game as they look to snap a four-game losing skid.
Ovechkin said that his injury is one that has been lingering him “for a little bit,” and that he will see how he feels before deciding whether or not to play on Saturday against the Isles. The Russian has not missed a game this season and ranks third in the NHL in scoring with 52 points through 37 games. He has two assists in his last four outings.
“Try to skate today. See how it goes tomorrow,” Ovechkin said simply.
READ MORE ON WHN: Ovechkin Shares Update On Injury, Status
On a less positive note, Carl Hagelin and Dmitry Orlov are still on the COVID-19 protocol and have not skated. Head coach Peter Laviolette also said that they will not travel to Long Island.
With Hagelin out, Brett Leason appears set to get the opportunity to draw back into the lineup and was skating with Connor McMichael and Lars Eller on the fourth line on Friday. Leason got called up from the taxi squad on Thursday and had also skated with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway. In turn, Aliaksei Protas was the odd man out and skated with the extras.
Here were the Capitals lines:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Daniel Sprong-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Brett Leason
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin-Justin Schultz
Washington also saw another netminder join the mix. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are still the main Capitals goalies, but Hunter Shepard earned a call-up to the taxi squad from the Hershey Bears on Friday.
Shepard is 3-1-0 with a 1.75 GAA, .923 save percentage and one shutout through four games with Hershey this season. The 26-year-old has also played in nine games for the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays, going 3-4-2 with a 3.43 GAA and .903 SV%.