PITTSBURGH - News and notes as the Capitals and Penguins prepare for tonight’s Game 3 at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. Pregame Live, CSN):
Orlov back in?: After being beaten on a goal in Game 1 and made a healthy scratch in Game 2, Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov is expected to go back into the lineup in place of Brooks Orpik, who will serve the first of a three-game suspension.
Orlov is expected to be paired with Taylor Chorney on the Caps’ third pairing, leaving Mike Weber as the odd-man out. Karl Alzner did not participate in the morning skate but is expected to be paired with Matt Niskanen, while Nate Schmidt is expected to move into Orpik’s spot on the second pairing with John Carlson.
“I think Orly will be fine,” Capas coach Barry Trotz said. “When he’s struggled I’ve stayed with him and he’s bounced back with some good games. There’s trust there and I think he’ll come in and play very well.”
Orlov, 24, said the game looks easier from the press box than it is on the ice and would like to learn from his mistakes in Game 1.
“You can’t be hard (on yourself) all the time because sometimes you have bad games,” he said. “It’s going to happen. Not everybody is perfect. Just think about what you did wrong and next game do positive things and forget about the past.”
The Penguins said they hope to take advantage of the extra space they have without Orpik clearing the crease.
“He’s a big body guy and we have to take advantage while he’s out,” Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz said. “He finishes his checks in the corners, he boxes out hard and makes it tough to get to the net, and he blocks shots. He’s a big guy on their PK. Hopefully, it opens up some space for us.”
Pouliot or Schultz?: Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Olli Maatta is definitely out for tonight’s game with an upper body injury but has not ruled him out for the remainder of the series. He also said the replacement for Maata (either Derrick Pouliot or Justin Schultz)
would be determined just before the game.
It appears as though the Pens are leaning toward Pouliot, a 22-year-old, 6-foot, 208-pounder who played in 22 games for the Penguins this season and 34 games last season. If Pouliot plays it will be his first NHL playoff game.
“Derrick’s a good player,” Sullivan said. “He can move the puck, he’s a strong kid, he’s a big body. He’s really improved the defensive aspect of his game.”
Fleury update: Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury practiced again on Monday and took shots. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Fleury has made “significant progress” but would not put a timetable on his return, other than to say, “We’re obviously a better team when
he’s part of it.”