With the two-time champion Penguins in town Wednesday night, Caps Coach Barry Trotz has opted to make a couple of changes. On the blue line, he’s inserting rookie Christian Djoos into the lineup for veteran Taylor Chorney. Up front, Tyler Graovac is back in for Nathan Walker.
Here’s how we expect Trotz to have the Caps lined up at Capital One Arena:
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov - Vrana
Burakovsky - Backstrom - Oshie
Connolly - Eller - Chiasson
Orlov - Niskanen
Orpik – Carlson
Djoos – Ness
Some notes, quotes and observations from the morning skate KCI:
- Trotz said the decision to play Djoos, who’ll make his NHL debut, was twofold: He wanted to get the rookie for a home game since he controls the matchups and Taylor Chorney has struggled a bit on the right side, which is where Ness will line up. “He’s played all his games over there but he’s a little bit of a rough patch [with his] handles and stuff like that,” Trotz said of Chorney. “And Nesser has played both [sides]. We’ll get [Chorney] a reset. …That’s always a tough scratch for us.”
- Djoos said he found out this morning. “It’s huge,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun night to finally play my first game. It’s a big game for the organization and they’re a great team.”
- Djoos said his father, Per, who played 82 games for the Red Wings and Rangers is in Washington and will attend the game.
- Asked if there’s any significance to facing the team that eliminated you the year before, Trotz cracked, “No, just hatred. You hate the guys that bumped you out. All the credit to the Penguins they’ve been the standard for the last two seasons.”
- Trotz on playing Graovac over Walker: “I didn’t play [Graovac] a lot in the first game. He didn’t play that poorly. He actually played fairly well. He did some good things. In that game we were trailing and I wanted to get a little more offense from guys that I had a longer history with.” Graovac played 6:22 vs. Ottawa. Trotz added: “And it was important for me to get Walks in, just as it was important to get Djoos in. Now we’ve got everybody in, except Tom [Wilson] who we’ll get in next game. Then we’ll sort of be complete.”
- Trotz said he anticipates keeping the roster max of 23 even when Wilson returns, saying it’ll create competition within the bottom 6, while also allowing forwards on the third line to pressure on guys in the top 6.
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