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Friday night's Capitals lineup and what it tells us

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Friday night's Capitals lineup and what it tells us

The Caps’ second-to-last preseason game will feature just about everyone who’s auditioning for a job on the opening night roster.

So, yeah, it’s a big one for the guys who are still being evaluated.

Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have them lined up at PNC Arena in Raleigh when the Capitals take on the Hurricanes at 7:30 p.m.:

Forwards
1. Burakovsky – Backstrom – Chiasson
2. Vrana – Eller – Wilson
3. Graovac – Beagle – Smith-Pelly
4. Walker – Stephenson – Connolly

Defense
1. Orlov – Niskanen
2. Ness – Chorney
3. Djoos – Bowey

Goalies
1. Holtby
2. Grubauer

RELATED: OVECHKIN REFLECTS ON THE 2016-17 SEASON

Here’s what you should know about that lineup, plus some notes, quotes and observations from the morning skate:

  • Up front, Vrana, Chiasson, Graovac, Walker, Smith-Pelly and Stephenson are competing for the three spots. Of those, Graovac, Walker, Smith-Pelly and Stephenson require waivers to be demoted to the AHL. Chiasson, meantime, is on a tryout agreement.
     
  • Graovac scored the Caps’ lone goal Wednesday night against New Jersey but said he wants to be better on the penalty kill. The 6-5 forward was on the ice for two of the Devils’ three power play tallies. “I still have a lot to prove, I feel that way,” he said Friday morning. “The PK last game was a little bit of a downer, and I want to be reliable. It just takes a couple of adjustments and I’m a quick learner. That’ll be a big part of tonight.”
     
  • On the backend, Ness, Djoos and Bowey are battling for two positions. Ness and Djoos require waivers; Bowey is the only right shot among them.
     
  • Forwards Ovechkin, Oshie, Peluso, Kuznetsov and defensemen Orpik and Carlson are the only players not suiting up Friday. Among those, Peluso is the only player who is still in a competition.
     
  • Coach Trotz wouldn’t say whether a decision had been made on Peluso’s status. Asked if he’d suit up Sunday in St. Louis, “I don’t know yet. We’re going game to game.” Peluso would need to pass through waivers in order to be sent to the Bears.
     
  • Oshie, who left Wednesday’s game in the third period, practiced fully on Friday. He was not scheduled to be in the lineup vs. the Canes, anyway.
     
  • Trotz said he’d like for the preseason finale against the Blues to be a dress rehearsal but, he added, “that depends on how today goes. I would like it to be. But if we’re not where we need to be then we’ll do what we need to do. We’re going to have to split some hairs.” He continued: “Yeah, it is very important for a number of players.”
     
  • Complicating matters for the cap-strapped Caps is this: performance is just one part of determining who makes the team—at least to start. Waivers as well as cap considerations will also weigh heavily on the front office’s decisions.
     
  • The Caps are 1-4 so far this preseason. They’ve scored seven goals, including just two 5-on-5 goals. “I’ve made no bones about it, we haven’t been our best yet,” Trotz said. “A lot of our top guys have not really got going yet. I trust that they will ramp it up here. Really, through the preseason we’ve got zero production from the top guys other than the power play, which is more about skill and execution than it is about working and creating and battling.”
     
  • Wilson is returning from a two-game suspension for a late hit.
     
  • Trotz said the next round of cuts will be made Sunday or Monday.

 

MORE CAPITALS: HERE'S HOW TO WATCH FRIDAY'S PRESEASON GAME WITH CAROLINA

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.

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NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule, date, time, TV channel, how to watch

The Capitals and Penguins face off in the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference semifinals, marking the third consecutive season the two Metro Division rivals have met in the playoffs.

The Capitals have beaten the Penguins in a playoff series just once in ten attempts dating back to 1991, and all five of the Penguins' Stanley Cup Championships included series wins over Washington.

The Capitals and Penguins split the regular-season series 2-2, with both teams picking up wins at home and on the road. The Capitals outscored the Penguins 13-12 over the course of the four regular-season games. 

The Capitals vs. Penguins 2018 NHL Playoff series will begin on Thursday, April 24 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. E.T.

Pregame coverage of the Capitals vs. Penguins on NBC Sports Washington begins an hour before puck-drop with Caps FaceOff, followed by Caps GameTime.

Caps Extra follows each playoff game with Caps OverTime after that. 

Stream Pre- and postgame coverage of Capitals vs. Penguins Game 1 on NBC Sports Washington.

Game 2 information has yet to be released.

CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS 2018 NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 1: Penguins at Capitals
Date: Thursday, April 26
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 2: Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 3: Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 4: Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 5 (If Necessary): Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: NBC (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 6 (If Necessary): Capitals at Penguins
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Penn.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)

Game 7 (If necessary): Penguins at Capitals
Date: TBD
Time: TBD
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (1500 AM)