SUNRISE, Fla. — Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said there was no update to forward Tom Wilson’s status Friday morning as the Capitals’ winger recovers from a lower-body injury he suffered in Game 1. He remains day-to-day.
Laviolette spoke at the team hotel in Florida before the Capitals traveled back to Washington. Game 3 is on Saturday at 1pm at Capital One Arena. Game 4 will be Monday.
“When you lose a player like Tom, it's tough,” Laviolette said. “It forces you to juggle a little bit, evaluate a little bit and make those decisions today on the way home and we'll be ready for tomorrow. It would have been great if we could have just moved from Game 1 to Game 2 and had the same lineup, but that opportunity wasn't there, it wasn't present and so we have to move forward.”
In Wilson’s place, the Capitals called up rookie forward Brett Leason to skate with Nic Dowd and Johan Larsson on the fourth line. Garnet Hathaway moved up to the third line with Anthony Mantha and Lars Eller.
Questions also remain in net. Vitek Vanecek was pulled after the second period with the game 5-1 in favor of the Panthers. Vanecek stopped 14 of the 19 shots he faced. Ilya Samsonov took the net in the third period and stopped all 17 Florida shots.
“We're just working through the game from last night,” Laviolette said. “We're going to evaluate everything — the way the game was played, what we need in the lineup, what we'll do, and so goaltending is part of that.”
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Now, the Capitals look to rebound after a poor finish to Game 2 and regain the series lead. They’d played the way they wanted to in Game 1 and again for most of the first period of Thursday’s game. But the Panthers scored twice late in the first period after that strong Washington start, then turned on the jets in the game’s final half to put the exclamation point on a 5-1 win.
“I think when we look back at the two games, we don't like the last 25 minutes of last night's game,” Laviolette said. “I don't like the score from the first 35 minutes of last night's game, but we did a lot of good things. And so, I think there are some things we can definitely clean up and some changes we can make moving forward.”
All first-round games of Capitals vs. Panthers will be available regionally on NBC Sports Washington and streamed live on the MyTeams app.