The Washington Capitals recently have been running shorthanded, but a pair of players who have yet to play this postseason could maybe be ready in time for Wednesday.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilya Samsonov will travel with the Capitals to Boston on Tuesday ahead of Game 3 against the Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“They’re out there (practicing), and that’s a good sign,” Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday over Zoom. “They’ll travel. Our team is travelling, so they are a part of the team. They are part of our group, and so our team — the 25 or 26 — we’ll include them.”
Both players have been in the COVID-19 protocols. Kuznetsov, who often centers Alex Ovechkin, might be able to just slide right back into a top-line role with Ovechkin on his left and Anthony Mantha on his right. Ideally for the Capitals, they would be able to go Kuznetsov-Nicklas Backstrom-Lars Eller-Nic Dowd down the middle, but Eller now is hurt.
A path into the lineup might be more challenging for Samsonov. Craig Anderson has played well since replacing Vitek Vanecek in the first period of Game 1, but if nothing else, Samsonov represents an upgrade as the backup over Pheonix Copley.
As for Eller and Vanecek, Laviolette said both are day-to-day.
Puck drop for Game 3 of Capitals-Bruins is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on NESN, with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30.