Taylor Chorney will get a sweater for a second straight game when the Capitals host Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, Coach Barry Trotz said.
It’ll mark the first time since March that Chorney—the Caps’ seventh defenseman—will skate in back-to-back games. He’ll again take the spot of Nate Schmidt, who’ll be a healthy scratch.
“There was no decision,” Trotz said of sticking with Chorney. “He played well, so he deserves to stay in.”
Chorney scored his first goal of the season Sunday in the Caps’ 2-1 win over the Senators.
“It’s nice,” Chorney said. “You ask anybody, you want to play, you want to be in there as much as possible. Getting in back-to-back is fun. It’s what you work for.”
The Capitals have been one of the healthiest teams in the NHL this season and, entering Tuesday, they led the league in goals allowed per game (2.06). So Chorney’s services have not been in high demand.
In fact, the 29-year-old had only suited up for seven of the Capitals’ 36 games. Because of his infrequent usage, he stays sharp by staying longer and working harder in practices—an that effort does not go unnoticed by his teammates.
“Chorns comes to the rink every day with a smile on his face and works his butt off,” fellow defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “That’s not easy to do when you’re not in the lineup. Sometimes there’s not even a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s pretty amazing the positive attitude that he’s kept. You root for guys like that. To be rewarded with a goal was a pretty cool moment. I think everybody on the team was pretty fired up for him.”
Chorney has one goal, one assist and four penalty minutes in the seven games he's played. The team has a 6-0-1 record in those contests.
“I’ve tried not to let it get to me too much,” Chorney said of coming in and out of the lineup. “But when you go in there and you play well, you want to keep rolling. I understand it’s a tough situation. We have a really good team and it’s a numbers thing and that’s the way it works out. So I’m not going to stand here and complain. But at the same time, as a competitor you want to be out there with your teammates."
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