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Capitals have decisions to make with another round of cuts looming

Capitals have decisions to make with another round of cuts looming

The next round of training cuts for the Capitals could be made in the coming 24 to 48 hours, coach Barry Trotz said.

The Capitals play their fourth preseason game Monday night against the Blues at Verizon Center, where they’ll ice a lineup that features Alex Ovechkin and seven other World Cup stars, as well as a few players hoping to snag a spot on the opening night roster.

Among the hopefuls are forwards Zach Sanford and Nathan Walker, both of whom have earned praise from coaches for their performance thus far in camp.

Here’s the lineup (based on the morning skate):

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Oshie

Sanford-Eller-Burakovsky

Winnik-Beagle-Connolly

Walker-Sill-Carey

Alzner-Niskanen

Orlov-Carlson

Chorney-Schmidt

Holtby

Grubauer

Trotz said he’d like to start whittling down the roster, which currently stands at 42, as soon as Tuesday. But as he noted, there are a couple of variables that could affect the timing of some cuts. For one, there could be a player Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan want to see in game action once more. It’s also possible that the injuries to Marcus Johansson (lower body) and Tom Wilson (upper body) could require them to keep a player or two around a bit longer.

“We’ve got a couple of young guys in there tonight, [and] we’ll see where we are tomorrow,” Trotz said. “Guys that we want to take one last look at, we’ll [keep around]. If not…I would say before the Kansas City game, we want to get down a little bit, or right after that, and get our team a little more together.”

The Capitals’ fifth preseason game is Wednesday night against the Blues in Kansas City.

In reality, there probably aren't going to be any surprises as Trotz and Co. pare down the roster. The Capitals’ depth chart features 21 players on one-way contracts. Make that 22 if you count Andre Burakovsky, who is not going anywhere. Which leaves open just one spot, most likely for a 14th forward.  

Trotz said he’s eager to begin working with a smaller group because he wants to start fine tuning his regular season lineup. With the regular season set to open in Pittsburgh only 10 days from now, the group must begin focusing on special team chemistry, etc. And that’s tough to do with so many bodies divided into two practice groups.

“We want to get down, ideally, to one bigger group,” Trotz said. “You don’t want to make it too big because then you don’t get the reps that you need. …There are some guys that we’ll probably have to decide on, that we’re actually quite happy with, but we have to just go in that direction right now.”

RELATED: Marcus Johansson, Madison Bowey both day-to-day and will not play Monday

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.