The Washington Capitals will kick off the final week of their regular season with a home game against the New York Islanders on Monday night. The Caps took to the ice for their morning skating before the game and missed team captain Alex Ovechkin again.
According to the newspaper “Roman Stubbs” in the Washington PostOvechkin would miss his second consecutive game with an upper body injury. Ovechkin has not skated since April 6 in Montreal.
Unfortunately for the Caps, Ovi’s absence was only the beginning of their troubles as they would also be without TJ Oshie, Anthony Mantha, Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk against the Islanders.
The Caps played without Ovechkin for the seventh time this season against the Panthers and went just like the previous six games without the Great Eight. They are now 0-7 and have been outscored 31 to 14 in those seven losses.
This season, Ovechkin has scored 42 goals and 74 total points. Both of these signs lead the team. Coach Peter Laviolette Ovechkin has not ruled out the team’s final two matches later this week.
Oshie joined Ovechkin as a skateboarder and will be shut down for the rest of the season due to his injury. Fourth line center Nick Dowd was also not present. Anthony Mantha and Trevor van Riemsdyk both returned to the ice from their injuries but only in non-contact jerseys indicating that they were not completely ready to return to action.
Oshie and TVR have not played since March 30th. Mantha hasn’t played since April 2nd. Dodd’s absence is another one, as he has played in all three of April’s matches up to this point.
To smooth over some of these issues and ensure they didn’t have to concede two men to the bench, Joe Snelly was called up from the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Snively is an emergency call-up so there will be no need to take any extra step to fit him into the team’s fully tied roster.
This hat crunch meant they would play with only 17 skaters for the third straight game.
Alex Ovechkin and TJ O’Shea are still out
Anthony Mantha and Trevor van Riemsdyk share no-contact shirts
Joe Snively was called up from the Hershey Bears of the AHL pic.twitter.com/UC4CQ2tVD9
– Ben Raby (@BenRaby31) April 10, 2023
Darcy Kuemper will return to the starting net after Charlie Lindgren lost to Florida. Kuemper has only started twice in April up to this point and has conceded five goals in each of those matches. 909 hits a season.
The Islanders are still desperate for a spot in the standings as they cling to one of the last available playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. With two games remaining, they are tied with the Panthers in terms of combined points but are behind on the tiebreaker so they currently sit in second place.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are just one point behind both teams on the outside, which means Penguins fans will once again be rooting for the hats to win tonight.
Banner photo: Alan Dobbins / RMNB