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Carlson participates in Caps' morning skate


Carlson participates in Caps' morning skate

Capitals defenseman John Carlson, sidelined since Feb. 24 with a lower body injury, participated in the Caps’ morning skate on Friday but is placing no timetable on his return to the lineup.

Carlson will miss his 11th straight game tonight when the Caps face the Nashville Predators at Verizon Center (7 p.m., CSN). He was placed on long-term injury reserve after undergoing an undisclosed procedure for a lower body injury.

A player on long-term injury reserve must miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days before returning to the lineup, which means Carlson could return no sooner than Sunday night when the Capitals visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said Carlson may not join the team on its trip to Pittsburgh and Ottawa (Tuesday), saying Carlson could benefit more from staying in D.C. and skating with conditioning coach Mark Nemish.

Following tonight the Capitals will have 12 games remaining in the regular season. Carlson said he will return to the lineup “as soon as it makes sense.”

Carlson first suffered the injury when he blocked a shot against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 26. He missed the next 12 games and returned to the lineup on Jan. 27. Carlson played the next 13 games, recording no goals, three assists and a plus-4 rating, but admitted on Friday that he was limited in what he could do on the ice.

The club decided Carlson should undergo a procedure to correct the problem on Feb. 25 and Carlson has missed the club’s past 10 games.  He began skating with the Caps on Tuesday.  

“Personally, I feel better when I get on the ice than I did the last time,” Carlson. “That’s obviously a huge positive. There were some trying times when it seems like you’re never going to skate again and then as soon as you get on the ice you get that excitement back and you get the energy that goes along with it.”

Carlson said he’s confident that when he returns to the lineup it will be without limitation.    

“I don’t think I’ll have to play different than I did at the beginning of the year (before the original injury),” Carlson said. “That’s a big thing because I had to kind of change what I was doing out there because I was limited in certain areas and I don’t think there will be any of that this time around. I’m ready to get back out there as soon as it makes sense.”

Carlson skated with veteran defenseman Mike Weber on Friday, which suggests that Taylor Chorney and Nate Schmidt will make up the Capitals’ third defense pairing tonight. Carlson said he’ll know when it’s right for him to return to the lineup and is not circling a date on the Caps’ schedule.

“There’s no jump rope test or anything like that,” he said. “You know if you can skate and what your limitations are and what your strengths are. That’s what I’m most excited about, being myself on the ice again and being able to contribute to the team.”

In other news, Jay Beagle remained at top-line right wing, with Nicklas Backstrom at center and Alex Ovechkin at left wing.

Here are the Caps’ projected line combinations and defense pairs for tonight:

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Jay Beagle

Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuzentsov – T.J. Oshie

Jason Chimera – Marcus Johansson – Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik – Mike Richards Tom Wilson

Defense pairs

Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik – Dmitry Orlov

Taylor Chorney – Nate Schmidt


Braden Holtby (starter) – Philipp Grubauer

MORE CAPITALS: Craig Laughlin and Alan May tell stories on STL

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Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 74 Capitals at Red Wings Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Red Wings will be broadcast on NBCSN.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (42-24-7) take on the Red Wings (27-35-11) Thursday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Detroit.


The Capitals-Red Wings game will be broadcast on NBCSN. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Red Wings (on NBCSN)
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Red Wings game:

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

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

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Evgeny Kuznetsov (upper body injury), Alex Chiasson, Jakub Jerabek


You can watch the Capitals-Red Wings game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


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 Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

No player on the Caps gets more scrutiny than defenseman Brooks Orpik. While the analytics aren't kind when he's on the ice, we got to see what the Caps looked like without him when he was scratched against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday and...well, his loss was noticeable.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir discuss what Orpik's true impact on the Capitals really is both on and off the ice on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast. Plus, they also talk about John Carlson's monster season and Barry Trotz's new strategy for the goalies.

Listen to the latest episode in the player below or here on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.