The Washington Capitals have made two moves this morning to prepare for tonight’s game against the New York Islanders. They called up goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Dmitry Orlov from Hershey. To make room for Orlov, they sent down center Michael Latta. The reason that Latta has been sent down is that he can be sent down to Hershey without passing through waivers. Grubauer has been called up because Michal Neuvirth (who was expected to start last night) got injured during pre-game warmups and Braden Holtby was forced to start in his place.
Grubauer is up in case Holtby gets injured or gets pulled. Holtby will be starting tonight. Orlov has yet to play in an NHL game this year despite being called up numerous times, but I’m guessing he might see some playing time tonight. Here’s why. Last night, Alex Urbom only took three shifts because he was benched after the Canadiens’ first goal. That left the Capitals with five defensemen, including only two left handed defensemen. One of them was Karl Alzner, and there’s no way he’s being scratched because he’s the Capitals’ best stay at home defenseman. The other one was Nate Schmidt, who had 23 minutes of ice time. If I were Adam Oates (and I’m not Adam Oates), I’d let my two rested defensemen (Urbom and Orlov) play and let Schmidt take a well-deserved rest. If nothing else, Orlov deserves a chance to play. Orlov could also help to spell John Carlson (who had 31:10 of ice time last night) and Mike Green (who had 26:42 of ice time last night) on the power play. Carlson and Green both spent over 3 minutes on the power play last night. Orlov is a very effective point man on the power play, and while he’s not as good as Carlson or Green, that would allow Green and Carlson to get some rest. Carlson especially needs it because he also sees a lot of ice time during penalty kills.
The Capitals are expected to get Brooks Laich back for tonight’s game. Considering how well Mikhail Grabovski, Eric Fehr, and Troy Brouwer played last night, Laich would probably be best suited on the third line, but I could see Laich on the second line and Fehr centering the third line. Adam Oates has a lot of things to factor into his lines and pairings for tonight, so it should be interesting to see what he does and how he divides the minutes.
Game time is at 7:00 PM EST.
UPDATE: Orlov will be starting tonight, per Katie Carrera.
Dmitry Orlov will make his season debut tonight, Oates says.
— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) November 30, 2013
My feelings about that:
Also, per Mike Vogel, Martin Erat will be starting as well, as Brooks Laich isn’t healthy enough to play.
Orlov and Erat will both be in for the #Caps tonight. Holtby gets the start.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) November 30, 2013