Kuznetsov, Hagelin both expected to play against Penguins


Both Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carl Hagelin are expected to play for the Capitals in Friday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kuznetsov left practice early on Thursday with a lower-body injury while Hagelin was absent leaving the status of both players for Friday in the air. Both, however, took part in Friday's morning skate and participated in line rushes.

Head coach Peter Laviolette said following the morning skate that he expected Kuznetsov and Hagelin to be available.

Kuznetsov's departure on Thursday was described by Laviolette as precautionary. Hagelin was out with an illness, but a COVID test came back negative clearing his way to return Friday. His participation in the morning skate certainly suggests he is feeling up to play.

One surprise Friday was the recall of goalie Zach Fucale from Hershey. The move was made as a precaution with the team playing back-to-back against Pittsburgh on Friday and in Buffalo against the Sabres on Saturday. Goalie coach Scott Murray is currently in the NHL's COVID protocol. A positive test on Saturday for either Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek would leave the team with only one goalie and an emergency backup as their No. 2.

Samsonov, Vanecek and Fucale were all on the ice for Friday's morning skate.