Earlier this month, there were concerns Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner’s iron man streak would end at 401 games with an undisclosed injury, but he suited up against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 8 and the streak continued.
Tonight in Buffalo, defenseman John Carlson’s 412-game playing streak is jeopardy because of what Caps coach Barry Trotz described as a lower body injury. Carlson reportedly left the ice at Niagara Arena early on Monday and will be a game-time decision tonight when the Caps visit the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m., CSN+).
Carlson’s 412-game streak is the second-longest in Capitals franchise history, trailing Bob Carpenter (422). Carlson and Alzner, who has played in 410 consecutive games, are two of only three NHL defensemen (Rangers blue liner Keith Yandle) that have not missed a regular-season game in each of the last six seasons (2010-15).
Carlson leads all Caps defensemen with 27 points in 34 games and leads the club in average ice time with 24:28 per game.
Trotz said Carlson got “twisted up a little bit” in the Caps’ 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sarturday night. He played 25:11 in Saturday’s win, taking 10 shifts in each of the three periods, including the final shift of the game.
If Carlson cannot play, look for Connor Carrick to make his season debut for the Caps. Carrick, 21, has not played in the NHL since the 2013-14 season, when he recorded one goal and five assists in 34 games. In 26 games with the AHL Hershey Bears this season, he has eight goals and seven assists.
Carlson and Alzner have played in every game since the 2010-11 season and rank second and fourth in the NHL in blocked shots during that span. Carlson has 888 and Alzner has 765.