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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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Game 48: Capitals vs. Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 48: Capitals vs. Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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

When: 12:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Flyers will be broadcast on NBC

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

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

The Capitals (28-15-4) take on the Flyers (22-16-8) Sunday, January 21 at 12:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at  11:30 a.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 12:00 p.m. Check back with NBC Sports Washington for postgame coverage starting with Caps Extra following the game and Caps Overtime at 3:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

11:30 a.m. — Caps FaceOff
12:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
12:30 p.m. — Capitals vs. Flyers on NBC
3:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
3:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-FLYERS GAME?

The Capitals-Flyers game is available to stream live here through NBC Sports.  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.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

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

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

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

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney

CAPITALS-FLYERS 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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3 reasons the Caps lost to the Canadiens

3 reasons the Caps lost to the Canadiens

The Caps battled through the rust on Thursday to earn a point in New Jersey. On Friday, rust cost them yet again as they fell 3-2 to the Montreal Canadiens.

Here's why they lost.

4 shots on goal in the first period

Canadiens goalie Antti Niemi has had his struggles this season. Yes, he has played better since getting claimed off waivers by Montreal, but getting to play against Niemi instead of Carey Price wass a golden opportunity for the Caps to generate some offense. Washington, however, had very little offense to speak at the end of the night. How did they respond with Niemi in net? By getting only four shots in the first period. Four. They finished with 26 shots on goal for the game, but had they come out swinging in the first and put pressure up early on Niemi, they could have gotten a much different result.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FOR CAPS-HABS

Bad passing

After the game, Lars Eller said "It was one of the sloppiest games we've played if not the sloppiest. I don't think we've given up so any odd-man rushes or chances in one game." In no aspect were the Caps more sloppy than with their passing. Here are just a few examples.

A cross-ice backhand pass in the defensive zone? Really? You are not going to be successful trying to make those type of plays and it cost the Caps. They could not maintain possession of the puck or breakout of their zone and it led to several odd-man rushes for Montreal.

Rust

It's not an excuse. The Caps should have played better on Friday regardless, but there's no arguing the fact that rust was a factor. It was abundantly clear that the Caps were out of sync. That will happen when you are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back with no practice time.

Saturday's practice will be absolutely critical since Washington faces a matinee game on Sunday, their third contest in four days.