Capitals

Orlov set to return to the lineup, Kuznetsov, Samsonov remain out

Capitals

Dmitry Orlov will play in his first game since coming off the NHL's COVID-19 protocol-related absence list Monday against the Boston Bruins (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington), Peter Laviolette said Monday.

Both Orlov and Alex Ovechkin came off the protocol list on Saturday, but after a week of not skating, Orlov did not play. Monday's game will be his first since Jan. 19.

"We had conversations with [Orlov] today," Laviolette said. "The pregame skate and then the practice and then a pregame skate, he's ready to go and so he'll come back into the lineup tonight."

Based on the morning skate, Orlov will be paired with Nick Jensen.

While Orlov and Ovechkin are back on the ice, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov both remain on the protocol list and not available. All four players were added to the list after Samsonov tested positive for the coronavirus and it was discovered those four players had been in a hotel room together on the team's season-opening road trip in violation of the NHL's COVID-19 safety protocols.

There is no timetable for Kuznetsov and Samsonov's return.

"They're still day-to-day," Laviolette said. "I don't really have an update. They still remain in quarantine."

In additional personnel news, Lars Eller and Justin Schultz both remain day-to-day with upper-body injuries. Eller was injured on a hit from behind into the boards by New York Islanders forward Leo Komarov. He came onto the ice late for Monday's morning skate in a non-contact jersey. Monday will be the third straight game he has missed.

 

Schultz was struck by a puck in Thursday's game and will miss his second straight.

"[Schultz's] doing good," Laviolette said. "He remains day-to-day. He's not on the ice yet so he won't be in the lineup tonight. I think they'll be a process to it. You guys will probably see it as it starts to unfold on the ice."

One additional surprise was moving Jakub Vrana down to the fourth line with Mike Sgarbossa and Daniel Sprong. After one game on the second line to get his legs back, Ovechkin was moved back to the first but Laviolette elected to put Conor Sheary on the second line and move Vrana to the fourth.

"For me, Conor's played really well," Laviolette said. "You can see it, he's working hard, he's creating. This line was together a couple games ago. The lines are going to change a little bit based on players coming in and out of the lineup. I think that creates a good environment where you've got to compete for your ice time and make sure that you're doing your thing on the ice and for me, Conor has. You watch him, he's fast, he's physical, he's chipping in offensively. This line was together a couple nights ago and I thought they played really well."

Tune to for Capitals vs. Blues on Monday, Feb. 1. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.