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Capitals Tweak Lines As Leason, Protas Draw Out, McMichael In vs. Stars

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Capitals forward Aliaksei Protas

The Washington Capitals made some changes to their lineup for Friday’s tilt with the Dallas Stars as they look to spark their 5-on-5 scoring.

Aliaksei Protas and Brett Leason will draw out of the lineup and be healthy scratches, while Joe Snively will draw in on the forward lines.

Snively came up from Hershey to the taxi squad on Thursday and will get a chance to play in his second NHL game while drawing in with Lars Eller and Connor McMichael. The Herndon, V.A. native picked up an assist in his NHL debut on Jan. 19 and ranks third in AHL scoring with 38 points in 35 games.

Connor McMichael will return after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday against San Jose. Despite having two assists in his last three outings, he played just 6:55 minutes against Vegas. Also, Daniel Sprong will remain in the lineup after a strong performance on Wednesday following three games as a healthy scratch.

READ MORE ON WHN: Stars Award Braden Holtby With Silver Stick Ahead Of First-Ever Start Vs. Capitals

Protas has gone four games without a point and has skated under 10 minutes in his last three outings. The 6-5, 225-pound winger has shown that he has the potential to be an NHL regular and has three goals and nine points in 32 games this season.

Meanwhile, Leason has been struggling to get into a rhythm and hasn’t scored since having a multi-point outing on Dec. 17 against Winnipeg (11 games). He has three goals and six points in 32 games for Washington this season, but like Protas, has seen a decrease in ice time. He skated just 7:40 minutes against San Jose on Wednesday and played a team-low 5:02 minutes against Vegas on Monday.

Meanwhile, Matt Irwin will slot back in on defense with Michal Kempny on COVID-19 protocol and Nick Jensen still recovering from an upper-body injury.

In 12 games this season, Irwin has dished two assists, 16 blocks and 29 hits and has a +/- of minus-3. He will play in Kempny’s spot on the third pairing alongside Trevor van Riemsdyk.

Here are the lines, per Mike Vogel:

Puck drop is at 9 p.m. in Dallas. The Stars are honoring Sergei Zubov, whose number 56 is being retired.

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