The Capitals hit the ice at Capital One Arena for the very first time Saturday night and skated past the Canadiens 6-1, with Alex Ovechkin leading the way with his second consecutive hat trick.
There were no changes to the Capitals’ lines or D-pairs on Sunday in Arlington, where practice was a relatively quick one as the team scrambled to the airport for a charter flight to Tampa. Capitals vs. Lightning begins at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday night (NBCS Washington)
So here’s the lineup you can expect Monday night at Amalie Arena (based on rushes):
Capitals vs. Lightning Lineup: Forward Lines
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Vrana
Burakovsky – Backstrom – Oshie
Connolly – Eller – Chiasson
Walker – Beagle – Smith-Pelly
Extras: Graovac and Wilson
Capitals vs. Lightning Lineup: Defense Pairings
Orlov – Niskanen
Orpik – Carslon
Ness – Chorney
Capitals vs Lightning Lineup: Goalies
Some notes, quotes and observations from Arlington:
- One night after watching Walker make his debut and score a goal, his parents were in the stands at Kettler Capitals Iceplex taking in practice. Walker took the first rush with the fourth line, while Tyler Graovac rotated in, suggesting Walker stays in vs. the Lightning.
- Asked if there’s any concern that Walker could drop off as many young players do during their first NHL stint, Coach Barry Trotz said: “No. That’s the foundation of his game, that he always brings it. That’s his personality. I haven’t seen him, in the whole time I’ve been around him, have a day where he doesn’t have some juice.”
- Braden Holtby is off to a strong start, posting a 2-0-0 record, a .929 save percentage and a 2.40 goals against. But he’ll give up the net at some point this week so that backup Philipp Grubauer can get in, Trotz said. The Caps play at the Lightning on Monday, host the Penguins on Wednesday and then have back to back games at New Jersey and Philly on Friday and Saturday.
- The penalty kill continues to perform well. In fact, the unit hasn’t surrendered a goal yet, having snuffed out all nine shorthanded situations the Caps have faced. Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelly have seen more shorthanded ice time than any other Washington forwards. “It’s attention to detail,” Smith Pelly said. “We’re game-planning and doing what we need to do. Guys are blocking shots. And when stuff kinda breaks down, which is going to happen, Holts is there to close the door. So far so good.”
- Trotz on the perfect PK: “The best penalty killer is your goaltender. We had some big [shot] blocks [Saturday]. Guys like Beagle. [T.J. Oshie] had a block. You talk about times when it breaks down and it looks like they’re going to get a good look… and then guys commit.”
- The Lightning are off to a 1-1-0 start after earning a split with the Panthers. Trotz said he thinks the Bolts are one of the best teams in the league, despite missing the playoffs last season. “They had a horrible season in terms of injuries and they never really could pile up a long winning streak at the end when it was a little bit too late,” he said. “I think they are a hell of a hockey team. They have skill on all of their lines. They've got all world defensemen on the backend. Good goaltending. They have speed. A lot of good elements.”