Few answers for Caps Game 3 lineup from morning skate

Lars Eller

There were a number of notable appearances at Wednesday's morning skate and a number of notable absences as the Capitals prepare for Game 3 against the Boston Bruins (Coverage starts at 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Washington).

Lars Eller, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ilya Samsonov and Connor McMichael were all on the ice for the morning skate. Vitek Vanecek and T.J. Oshie, however, were not.

Head coach Peter Laviolette offered few clues as to who would be available for Game 3.

"We've got some decisions to make, lineup decisions that we'll work through here," he said.

Eller left Game 2 in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. It is encouraging to see him on the ice as it suggests whatever the injury may be is minor enough to allow him to continue practicing.

Kuznetsov and Samsonov have both been activated off the COVID-19 list and, as far as the NHL is concerned, are clear to play. The issue with them, as Laviolette confirmed with Kuznetsov at least, is getting them back into game shape. Perhaps that timetable is sped up with questions at center and in net which probably falls into the "lineup decisions" the coaches will be working through.

McMichael was a surprise addition for the morning skate. He was among four players recalled from Hershey on Tuesday, but Laviolette indicated those players would not travel to Boston. McMichael's presence there then suggests he is at least in consideration for playing time even if it remains a long shot.


Vanecek's absence would indicate that he will not be playing. He has not been on the ice with the team since suffering a lower-body injury in Game 1. Craig Anderson, who got the first two starts of the series, is expected to start Wednesday in net.

Oshie missed the regular-season finale with a lower-body injury, but has played in both Game 1 and Game 2 of the series, recording one goal and two assists. It is not known if his absence on Wednesday is related to the lower-body injury he dealt with at the beginning of the season.

As for whether he will play on Wednesday, Laviolette said: "He falls right into that category with lineup decisions."