The Washington Capitals saw some good and bad news at Thursday’s morning skate in Philadelphia, with Justin Schultz absent and Vitek Vanecek present for the practice.
Justin Schultz, who left Tuesday’s game against Nashville with an upper-body injury, did not skate on Thursday. Meanwhile, Vitek Vanecek, who is continuing his recovery, was on the ice, per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.
Schultz played just 4:50 minutes against the Predators. It’s unclear what happened, but Schultz would not return for the final two periods. Head coach Peter Laviolette listed the 31-year-old blueliner as day-to-day after the game. The team announced on Thursday that Schultz’s status has not changed.
In 45 games this season, Schultz has two goals and 13 points, including four assists in his last five outings. He has been moving the puck well of late and also averages 17:49 minutes a night. He has mainly been paired with Trevor van Riemsdyk this season.
Meanwhile, Vanecek hit the ice, as the Capitals saw all three netminders take part in the morning skate. This is Vanecek’s first full skate with the team since suffering an upper-body injury against the Penguins on Feb. 1. In the first period of that game against Pittsburgh, Kasperi Kapanen and Vanecek were involved in a helmet-to-helmet collision, and after that and a power-play goal against, Vanecek left the game. He had been starting to find a rhythm with a .941 save percentage in his last six starts before the Pens game.
Samsonov, meanwhile, has been helping to fill the void and has played six straight games. If he starts against Philly, it will extend his career-high to seven straight appearances. He has been solid over the last stretch, posting a .919 save percentage over his last six starts and a .928 SV% in his last three outings. Pheonix Copley has mainly been backing up in Vanecek’s absence and remains up with the big club.