Russian defenseman Dmitry Orlov, considered the top defensive prospect in the Capitals organization, is expected to make his NHL debut tonight alongside Karl Alzner.
Orlov was recalled from the AHL Hershey Bears on Sunday after recording four goals and five assists in 15 games.
We felt we needed a little shakeup, somebody with a little more energy on the back end, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said, adding that Bears coach Mark French told him Orlov was their best defenseman and most dynamic player on the ice.
And we could use that, said Boudreau, who is trying to pull his team from a 1-5-1 slide.
Orlov, who speaks little English, is expected to replace Jeff Schultz in the lineup and play alongside Karl Alzner.
Hockey language is pretty common, Alzner said. He just needs to recognize my voice and Ill direct him from there.
The other defense pairings are expected to be Roman Hamrlik with Dennis Wideman; and John Carlson with John Erskine.
Erskine (shoulder) and Joel Ward (flu) did not skate at Mondays optional practice and will be game-time decisions. If Erskine cannot play, Schultz will be in the lineup.
Boudreau said he expects Ward to play tonight and that could mean a seat in the press box for Alex Semin, who has not been a healthy scratch since early in his rookie season. Semin and Alex Semin each decided not to participate in today's optional morning skate.