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Orpik will wait, Holtby to start vs. Stars

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Orpik will wait, Holtby to start vs. Stars

More than three months after suffering a lower body injury that he described as a broken bone, Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik is nearing a return from a three-month absence. But it won’t be tonight.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz told reporters in Dallas Saturday that Orpik, 35, will not play against the fleet-footed Stars, who have scored more goals this season than any team in the NHL.

Instead, Orpik is more likely to make his first appearance since Nov. 10 when the Los Angeles Kings visit Verizon Center on Tuesday night.

Tonight marks the 40th straight game Orpik will miss because of his injury. The Caps are 30-5-4 without him in the lineup.

The good news for the Caps is that center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who leads the Caps with 43 points in 53 games, is expected to remain in the lineup after leaving Tuesday night’s game in Minnesota with an apparent head injury.

Been a long time: The Caps have lost eight straight games to the Stars and haven’t beaten them since …

“October 25, 2008,” Trotz told reporters. “Yeah, we'll mention it. I think it's important. Anything that's been a roadblock, anything that's been something that people have told us you haven't done, that's something that we want to get out of the way and we want something else. It'll be part of what we talk about."

Between the pipes: Braden Holtby (35-5-3, 2.10 GAA, .927 SP) will make his sixth start in 10 days, but don’t be surprised to see Philipp Grubauer starting for the Caps on Tuesday against the Kings or Thursday against the Islanders. Kari Lehtonen (15-5-0, 2.79, .912) makes his third straight start for the Stars. He’s stopped 81 shots in his last to appearances, both victories.

Galiev in, Latta out: Looking for more speed against the Stars, Trotz will replace fourth-line right wing Michael Latta with Stan Galiev on a line with center Mike Richards and left wing Brooks Laich.

Chasing Marty: Holtby is three wins ahead of the pace Marty Brodeur was on when he set the NHL record with 48 wins in 2006-07. Through the Devils’ first 53 games that season Brodeur was 32-14-5 with nine shutouts, a 2.08 GAA and .926 save percentage.

Star struck: Jamie Benn is tied for second in the NHL with 62 points. John Klingberg’s 46 points are tied for second among NHL defensemen. Former Caps prospect Cody Eakin, who was involved in the trade that brought Mike Ribeiro to the Caps, has 10 goals and 13 assists in 55 games.

Saturday night fever: The Caps are 10-1-2 on Saturdays this season, outscoring opponents 42-29 in those games. Holtby has posted a 37-12-7 record with eight shutouts, a 2.14 GAA and a .927 SP in his career on Saturdays.

Kuz control: Evgeny Kuznetsov has 17 points in his last 12 games (2 goals, 15 assists). Kuznetsov leads the NHL in primary assists (32). He’s also third in plus/minus (plus-24).

RELATED: It's OK to exhale, Kuznetsov passes concussion tests

Here are projected lineups:

CAPITALS 

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie  
Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams  
Jason Chimera - Marcus Johansson - Tom Wilson  
Brooks Laich - Mike Richards - Stanislav Galiev 

Defense pairs

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson  
Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen  
Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney  

Goaltenders

Braden Holtby (starter) - Philipp Grubauer  

Injured: Jay Beagle (hand), Brooks Orpik (lower body) 
Scratched: Michael Latta  

STARS 

Forward lines

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves  
Antoine Roussel - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp  
Valeri Nichushkin - Mattias Janmark - Ales Hemsky  
Vernon Fiddler - Radek Faksa - Colton Sceviour 

Defense pairs

Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg  
Johnny Oduya - Jason Demers 
Patrik Nemeth - Jordie Benn 

Goaltenders

Kari Lehtonen (starter) - Antti Niemi  

Injured: Travis Moen (lower body), Jason Spezza (upper body) 
Scratched: Jyrki JokipakkaJamie Oleksiak  

MORE CAPITALS: Fun facts about Ovechkin's hat trick vs. Wild

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Heroes on the ice: Every Capitals player's superhero character

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USA TODAY Sports, Marvel and DC Comics

Heroes on the ice: Every Capitals player's superhero character

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the Washington Capitals!

It's not hard to picture your favorite athletes as superheroes. What the Caps are able to do on the ice seems almost superhuman at times.

Heck, they even have uniforms!

SEE EVERY CAPITALS PLAYER'S SUPERHERO CHARACTER HERE

But the similarities don't just end with the physical attributes and abilities. When you begin to really think about each player, you can see a lot of similarities between each of them and some well-known superheroes.

If each Caps player was a superhero, which one would they be? Check out each player's superhero character here.

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Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

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USA Today Sports

Dmitry Orlov dazzles his hometown of Novokuznetsk with the Stanley Cup

Friday featured Dmitry Orlov and his jam-packed schedule with the coveted Stanley Cup.

The 27-year-old native of Russia decided to take the Cup to Novokuznetsk (located in the southwest region of Siberia) for a meet and greet with fans by the Ferris wheel at Gagarin City Park.

It should be mentioned that Orlov's day with the trophy was nearly derailed after a travel glitch that sent the Cup to Novosibirsk instead of his hometown. 

Thanks to the ultimate assist from a helicopter, the Cup arrived in style and set up one memorable entrance for the defenseman. 

Orlov released this hype video which highlights his entire day on Instagram: 

Дорогие друзья! Огромное спасибо, что разделили с нами наш праздник! Для нас это значимое и большое событие! Ещё раз приносим искренние извинения за задержку с кубком! И спасибо за понимание, мы старались сделать все максимально быстро! Спасибо за тёплый приём! Нашим родным, друзьям, тренерам, отдельная благодарность! Вы сделали наш праздник, наш день! Мы никогда не забудем этот праздник! P.S. Лена @govor_elena , тебе и твоим родным, отдельная благодарность, если бы не ваша помощь, то не известно когда бы кубок был в Новокузнецке!

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

Talk about a banner weekend for the Washington Capitals. The Ovechkins welcomed their new son, Sergei Aleksandrovich, into the world and Orlov pulled off yet another spectacular day with the Cup.

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