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What Wednesday's lineup could mean for the Caps' opening night roster

What Wednesday's lineup could mean for the Caps' opening night roster

Tonight’s preseason lineup against the Devils figures to be close—really close, in fact—to the one we’ll see on opening night.

Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have them lined up at Capital One Arena:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Connolly
Burakovsky-Backstrom-Oshie
Vrana-Eller-Boyd
Graovac-Beagle-Peluso

Defense
Orlov-Niskanen
Ness-Carlson
Orpik-Bowey

Goalies
Holtby
Grubauer

RELATED: BARRY TROTZ WEIGHS IN ON ANTHEM PROTESTS

Here’s what that lineup tells us:

  • The top two forward lines are probably the combos Trotz is looking at for opening night, given what he's said in recent days.
     
  • The third line is almost there, I’d suspect, with prospect Travis Boyd filling in for Tom Wilson, who is sitting out the first game of a two-game suspension.
     
  • The fourth line is where the real competition is taking place. Jay Beagle is a lock, obviously. The wingers battling for that spot are likely (in no particular order) Nathan Walker, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Graovac, Anthony Peluso and Devante Smith-Pelly. Does that mean the coaches have seen enough from Walker, Chiasson and DSP? And need to see a little more of Graovac and Peluso? Makes sense to me.
     
  • Trotz on the competition: “We’re getting down to sort of the short strokes in terms of the end here. It could be the last audition for some guys. We’ll what they can bring to the table.”
     
  • Trotz also said it’s possible to keep 23 players—the roster max—but that’s only for certain combinations of players. “It would be really tight,” he joked. “We would have to hold our breath all the time.”
     
  • Personally, Trotz said he prefers a 22-man roster, which allows for just one extra forward and one extra D. “When you have two extra forwards, if you’re that second guy, you’re going, ‘Okay, two guys got to get hurt or two guys have to play bad before I get in’,” he said. “With that one guy, it keeps him, ‘I’m right there. I’m waiting for something to happen.’”
     
  • Trotz also said the team's early roster decisions could be dictated by the cap. “If there’s not much between a certain player and another player, the cap may decide that,” he said.
     
  • The D pairs are probably what Trotz is looking at for opening night. Note that it’s three lefties and three righties—something Trotz says he considers to be more important these days because of the game’s increased pace.
     
  • Wilson (suspended), Chorney, Walker, Chiasson, Smith-Pelly, Djoos, Lewington, Stephenson, Siegenthaler and Copley were in the non-game group. 

 

MORE CAPITALS: BROOKS LAICH VS. NATE SCHMIDT

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Game 32: Capitals vs. Avalanche Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 32: Capitals vs. Avalanche Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Colorado Avalanche

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

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-AVALANCHE GAME?

The Capitals (18-12-1) take on the Avalanche (14-13-2) Tuesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-AVALANCHE GAME ON?

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

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Avalanche
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-AVALANCHE GAME?

The Capitals-Avalanche 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.

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 CAPITALS-AVALANCHE?

Here are the Caps' projected lines:

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

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

Goalies
Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup.

Scratches: T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury), Taylor Chorney

CAPITALS-AVALANCHE 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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4 reasons the Caps lost to the Islanders

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4 reasons the Caps lost to the Islanders

A red-hot Capitals team traveled to Brooklyn where they were handed a 3-1 loss by the New York Islanders. Washington gave up an early goal in the first period and two early goals in the second that ultimately put the game out of reach.

Here is how it happened.

The first 94 seconds of the second period

The Caps trailed 1-0 at the end of the first and seemed fortunate to be down by only one. That luck ran out very quickly in the second period. Andrew Ladd scored just 36 seconds into the period and John Tavares added another just 58 seconds later. A 1-0 deficit turned into a 3-0 deficit in just 94 seconds.

Defensive breakdowns

Braden Holtby was pulled in the second period after giving up three goals, but if is hard to put this loss on Holtby's shoulders. He did not get much help at all from the defense as the Caps were frequently caught out of position by the Islanders. Watch how little movement there is from the players in white on this play.

Josh Bailey found himself in the middle of four Caps players, none challenged him and, even worse, no one covered John Tavares. It was an easy pass for Bailey and an easy goal for Tavares.

No sustained offensive pressure

The Islanders entered the game ranked 29th in goals against per game, yet the Caps could not take advantage. Washington fired 32 shots on goal, but could not create much sustained offensive pressure. There were not many cycles, not many won puck battles in the corners, not many second-chance opportunities, not many opportunities at all. Even the Caps' lone goal came from an end-to-end drive that Dmitry Orlov fired into the net.

Jaroslav Halak

While the Caps did not have many high-quality opportunities, the few they did have Jaroslav Halak was able to turn aside and he made it look easy. Halak has not had a great season, but you would not have known it given the way he played on Monday. He looked very comfortable in net, even when the Caps did manage to pressure him and recorded 31 saves on the night.