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Trotz makes two lineup changes for tonight


Trotz makes two lineup changes for tonight

Forward Michael Latta and defenseman Nate Schmidt will return to the Capitals lineup tonight when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit the Verizon Center (6:30 p.m. pregame, CSN) because …

“A loss,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. “Bored.”

Latta, a healthy scratch the past six games, will replace rookie center Chandler Stephenson, who was on the ice for the Penguins’ game-winning goal Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss. Latta will play right wing on a fourth line with Andre Burakovsky moving to left wing and Brooks Laich moving to center.

“He’s got an edge,” Trotz said. “He’s a good draw guy. He can have an effect, but he’s got to show it on the ice.”

Latta has not played since the Caps’ 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks in the second game of the season.

“It’s unfortunate you’ve got to lose to go back in but I’m excited to get back in, It’s been a couple tough weeks sitting out and not going to battle with your teammates every night.”

During his time as a healthy scratch Latta worked with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish on improving his explosiveness and quickness. In 53 games with the Caps last season Latta had no goals and six assists while averaging 8:31 in ice time. His last NHL goal came on Nov. 15, 2013, a span of 62 games.

RELATED: Friday Six-Pack: Missing Mike Green?

On the back end, Schmidt will return to the lineup in place of veteran Taylor Chorney and will play on the right side of Dmitry Orlov on the Caps’ third defense pairing. Schmidt has no points and three shots in three games this season.

Trotz said he moved Orlov, who is left-handed and has played most of his career on the right side, to the left because it helps him both offensively and defensively.

“I thought last game was his best game of the year,” Trotz said. “It’s taken a while to get all the rust off but his game is starting to have a real sound level of consistency that we know he has. … We feel he’s got top four talent.”  

Schmidt, who is also left-handed, said he played on the right side during his three seasons at Minnesota. He said playing the off side (a left-handed shooter on the right side of the ice) is an advantage offensively and can be a bit of a disadvantage defensively.

“I think they’re trying to figure out something that works for everybody,” Schmidt said. “There’s a huge advantage to play your offside in the offensive zone. You’re always in a shooting position on your forehand. It’s mostly neutral zone stuff, where you’re catching pucks on your backhand and you don’t have your body facing the ice; you’re more turned sideways.”

Trotz said goaltender Braden Holtby (5-2-0) will get the start tonight, with backup Philipp Grubauer possibly getting the start Saturday night when the Caps visit the Florida Panthers.

“I might, yes,” Trotz said when asked about starting Grubauer in Florida.

Here’s a look at how the Caps should look tonight:

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Andre Burakovsky - Brooks Laich – Michael Latta

Defense pairs

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Dmitry Orlov – Nate Schmidt


Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer

Scratches: Chandler Stephenson, Taylor Chorney, Stan Galiev

Injured: Chris Brown (hand)

MORE CAPITALS: Chimera throws his support behind Boudreau

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Flyers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

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


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Flyers game, as well as 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.


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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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

USA Today Sports

Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been declared day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, the Caps announced Saturday afternoon.

He will not play Sunday against the Flyers, marking the first time in four seasons that the durable 25-year-old center will have missed a game.

Kuznetsov, the Caps’ assists leader and first line pivot over the past week, was injured in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. On the play, he slashed on the arm by New York defenseman Thomas Hickey before he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards.


Kuznetsov did not return to the contest.

The Caps did not practice on Saturday as they made their way to Philadelphia, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to five games.  

The team, per usual, did not elaborate about the extent or nature of Kuznetsov’s injury. But it does seem to be a good sign that he was not listed as week-to-week—the designation the Caps typically reserve for more severe injuries. And with a two point lead on Pittsburgh in the Metro Division standings—and a game in hand—they can actually afford to be cautious with one of their most important players.


The injury does, however, come at a time when Kuznetsov appeared to be hitting his stride. Including the two assists he had racked up prior to leaving Friday’s game, Kuzy has amassed five goals and 11 assists in 10 games.    

Without Kuznetsov on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle will be the team’s most experienced centers. Travis Boyd and/or Chandler Stephenson figure to be deployed as the fourth pivot.

Coach Barry Trotz is expected to meet with reporters prior to Sunday’s game. It’s possible he’ll shed some more light on Kuznetsov’s outlook at that time.

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