Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have his players line up Friday night vs. the Blues...and a few notes about forward combos and D pairings you'll see at Capital One Arena:
Vrana – Backstrom – Oshie
Burakovsky – Boyd – Smith-Pelly
Stephenson – Eller – Wilson
Bau – Graovac – Peluso
Johansen – Carlson
Djoos – Chorney
Ness – Lewington
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- After scoring a power play goal while skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov on Wednesday, Jakub Vrana is getting an audition on the other top-six line.
- Stephenson is the only player to appear in all three preseason games. Tonight, he’s skating on the wing after playing center in the first two contests. He’s a prospect the Caps are hoping makes the opening night roster but the reason he’s played so much is because fourth-line center Jay Beagle is “trying to manage his body a little bit,” according to Trotz.
- Beagle has not played yet this preseason, but Trotz said he’s been practicing and scrimmaging full-go. “He’s not hurt,” Trotz said. “He’s got some tightness. We’re going to work through the tightness and he’ll be fine. There’s no reason to rush guys.”
- Winger Mathias Bau wasn’t originally slated to see any game action, but the Denmark native impressed Trotz so much in a scrimmage earlier this week that the coach found a spot in the lineup for him. Bau, the tallest player in camp at 6-7, is skating on a line with Graovac (6-5) and Peluso (6-3). “He’s gotten better and better,” Trotz said of Bau, who signed an AHL deal with Hershey this summer. “So he deserves to get in a game. He’s been standing out. Originally I had another guy in there but Bau has sorta overtaken him.”
- Peluso is another player who is emerging as a candidate to earn a spot on the fourth line. This will mark his second straight preseason appearance.
- Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov will make their preseason debut Saturday vs. the Hurricanes, according to Trotz, who has already said they’ll open the regular season as the top pair.
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