Capitals Game Day
Stadium Series Preview: Capitals Injury Updates, Game Notes vs. Hurricanes
The Washington Capitals are getting key names back and look to end a three-game slide as they play on the big stage outdoors against the Carolina Hurricanes.
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Washington Capitals will take to the outdoors on Saturday for the first time since 2018 in a critical division showdown against the Carolina Hurricanes, and the big stage adds even more of a spark as they look to break out of a three-game slide.
It'll also help that they'll be getting a key player back in the mix, as Tom Wilson is no longer listed as being on the injured reserve while Dylan McIlrath was re-assigned. He will play for first time since suffering another lower-body injury just eight games into his return from offseason ACL surgery on Jan. 24 against the Colorado Avalanche. Wilson has two goals and an assist so far this season.
As for other updates, Marcus Johansson, who was hurt at the end of Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers following an awkward collision with Radko Gudas, is also in. Nic Dowd remains on the injured reserve as he continues to work through a lower-body injury he suffered on Jan. 16. However, Laviolette did say he was also "close," as he's been getting back in the swing of practices and skating with Washington.
Darcy Kuemper will start.
The Capitals (28-23-6) fell out of playoff position on Friday following the New York Islanders' 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are just one point back, though, and Tuesday's "emotional" performance against the Hurricanes was a promising one where they believed they played well enough to win and would have arguably forced overtime had a Trevor van Riemsdyk goal not been called back for goaltender interference.
For Washington, getting a win outdoors is vital not just for the playoff push but for their confidence and, of course, Alex Ovechkin. The team has yet to win without him this season, and he is currently away from the team indefinitely as he mourns the death of his father.
"We need to — we want to get a win for our captain, for O, under the big lights out there," T.J. Oshie said, adding later, "Our hearts are broken for him, but we're absolute here 100 percent for an support that he needs or his family need. In times like this and even just interviews or the big stage or bright lights out there, that's where big No. 8 always shines, so we're missing him and thinking about him and wish he was here but glad he's able to be with his family during this tough time."
Despite being undefeated in outdoor games, defeating Carolina will be a tall task for the Capitals. The Hurricanes (30-10-8) are 9-1-0 in their last 10 games and sit comfortably atop the Metropoltian Division with 80 points. Everything appears to be working up and down the lineup, and they don't give up too much, either.
Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET outside at Carter-Finley Stadium.