Lars Eller enters NHL's COVID-19 protocols

Lars Eller

Capitals center Lars Eller was a late scratch from the road matchup with the Ducks on Tuesday night due to the NHL's COVID-19 protocols. 

Eller did travel with the team on its west coast road trip and was listed as questionable before Tuesday's game, but now the Caps will have to play without him for at least 10 days with games upcoming against Los Angeles (Wednesday), San Jose (Saturday) and Seattle (Sunday). 

The Capitals have had issues at center all season between Eller's expected absence due to COVID and injuries to Nicklas Backstrom and Nic Dowd. This latest development leaves Washington without three of its four regular starters at that position. 

In the meantime, the Caps will continue to lean on Connor McMichael in a bigger role as second-line center, while Garrett Pilon will likely replace Eller on the third line. Pilon was called up from AHL Hershey before the team set out on their west coast trip.