The Capitals held practice today one day after they clinched a playoff berth for the fifth season in a row. The Caps can still finish as the 3rd, 7th or 8th seeds in the Eastern Conference, but have one last big test against the New York Rangers in New York tomorrow to end the regular season.
If the Caps win tomorrow in New York and the Florida Panthers lose in regulation tomorrow against the Hurricanes, then the Caps will win the Southeast Division for the fifth season in a row and play the New Jersey Devils in the first round. If the Caps and Panthers win, but the Ottawa Senators lose in regulation to the New Jersey Devils tomorrow, then the Caps would finish 7th and play the Boston Bruins in the first round. If the Panthers, Caps and Senators all win or the Caps lose tomorrow, then the Caps will finish in the 8th seed and play the New York Rangers in the first round.
Mike Green, Troy Brouwer and Michal Neuvirth all missed practice today. Green missed practice due to an illness, Brouwer had a “maintenance day” for the second time in three days and Neuvirth will meet with a doctor this afternoon following being helped off the ice and to the locker room yesterday in the second period during the Caps 4-2 win.
Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said the team won’t call up a back up goalie until Neuvirth meets with a doctor and they know the prognosis. The likely call-up would be Dany Sabourin from AHL Hershey. Sabourin is expected to start for the Hershey Bears tonight on the road against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Caps goalie Tomas Vokoun is still “day-to-day” with a groin injury and Hunter said he won’t skate today or tomorrow.
“He’s getting better,” Hunter added.
Braden Holtby (3-2-1, 2.79 GAA, .910 Save pct.) will be the starting goalie tomorrow for the Caps. Henrik Lundqvist (39-17-5, 1.93 GAA, .931 Save pct.) is likely in net for the Rangers tomorrow.
The Rangers are still playing to try and win the Presidents’ Trophy, but are already the Eastern Conference regular season champs.
Caps Director of Media Relations Sergey Kocharov put on the pads and was the other goalie during practice today.
Listen here to what Dale Hunter, Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Dennis Wideman and Jason Chimera had to say following practice today.
Dale Hunter Practice Audio
Braden Holtby Practice Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Practice Audio
Brooks Laich Practice Audio
Dennis Wideman Practice Audio
Jason Chimera Practice Audio