Karl Alzner’s iron man streak of 401 games is still alive.
Capitals coach Barry Trotz confirmed Tuesday that the 27-year-old defenseman will be in the lineup tonight against the Detroit Red Wings (7:30, NBCSN) after missing Monday’s practice with an upper-body injury.
Left wing Marcus Johansson, who sat out Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss in Winnipeg with a lower body injury, also is expected to play. He practiced Tuesday on a line with center Evgeny Kuznetsov and right wing Justin Williams.
“With Marcus I was just concerned he didn’t skate (on Monday) but he immediately said he was fine,” Trotz said.
Alzner has played in every Caps game since sitting out the 2009-10 regular season finale on April 11, 2000. Tonight will mark his 402nd straight game, two behind defenseman John Carlson, who has played in 403 consecutive games.
Trotz said those are impressive streaks for a pair of defensemen who play big minutes against some of the NHL’s top forwards.
“When you play that many minutes, something’s going to go wrong or someone’s going to chop you or you get hit with a puck blocking a shot, or just an illness,” Trotz said. “From that standpoint, it’s pretty impressive for this day and age because the game is played pretty fast, especially for a defenseman. They’re going back to retrieve pucks and they’re the ones who take a lot of the hits.”
Trotz said that with Brooks Orpik still ailing with a lower body injury, the Caps will keep defenseman Aaron Ness on the roster for at least a few more games.
Orpik will miss his 12th consecutive game tonight with a lower body injury and was not on the ice on Tuesday. It’s possible the team will keep Orpik off the ice for a while to see how his injury responds.
“We’re sort of re-evaluating everything we’ve done so far to see if the plan stays the same or they alter it a little bit,” Trotz said. “They altered it a little bit today based on him not skating, trying to see if they can get it to settle down.”
Dads in town: The Caps will make their annual dads’ trip this week, with players’ fathers and mentors attending tonight’s game, Wednesday’s practice at Kettler and the team’s visits to Sunrise, Fla. for Thursday night’s game against the Panthers and Tampa for Saturday night’s game against the Lightning.
Trotz said he likes to play each player on his roster during the dads trip, adding that goaltender Philipp Grubauer is scheduled to make one of the starts against the Panthers or Lightning.
Here is how the Capitals practiced Tuesday and their projected lineup for tonight:
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams
Jason Chimera – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson
Brooks Laich – Michael Latta – Andre Burakovsky
Extras: Stan Galiev, Chris Brown
Nate Schmidt – John Carlson
Karl Alzner – Matt Niskanen
Dmitry Orlov – Taylor Chorney
Extra: Aaron Ness
Braden Holtby (starter) – Philipp Grubauer
MORE CAPITALS: Trotz: Backstrom should be All-Star, Selke winner