11.20.13: Caps week in review
Capitals defenseman Mike Green has recovered from the lower body bruise that has kept him out of the past two games, but he won’t be playing tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Caps at Verizon Center [8 p.m. NBCSN].
“He’s not a hundred percent ready,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “He could go, but it’s a really good team and we don’t want to put him in a position where he’s behind the 8-ball a little bit.”
Green was injured on Nov. 12 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His first practice with the team was on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he did extra skating with defensemen John Erskine [knee injury] and Dmitry Orlov, and forwards Jay Beagle and Eric Fehr.
“Better than yesterday,” Green said. “Mentally, I’m in a good place, when you’re getting better and you can actually get back on the ice and work on your strength.
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“This is my second real day where I’ve actually skated. Yesterday was a good one. Today was even better. I don’t think one practice would have been enough. It’s important I strengthen the leg and also my endurance so I’m ready to go.”
Oates said he expects Green in the lineup Friday night when the Capitals close out there three-game homestand against the Montreal Canadiens. Oates and Green said they saw no issues in Green playing back-to-back nights. The Caps follow Friday’s home game with a Saturday visit to Toronto.
With Green sidelined, the Caps will turn to 29-year-old veteran Tyson Strachan to play his third straight game on a defense pairing with rookie Nate Schmidt.
Strachan has 122 games of NHL experience over six seasons, including four against the Penguins.
“Guys like [Sidney] Crosby and [Evegni] Malkin are special players and they do things on the ice you can only dream of doing,” he said. “The game plan doesn’t change. You just need to control the puck as best as possible.”
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Signed as a free agent by the Caps over the summer, Strachan has averaged 20 minutes in his first two games with the Capitals and has not been on the ice for just one goal against, a power-play tally by Danny DeKeyser in Detroit on Friday.
He said his goal tonight is to handle Crosby and Malkin like he did Pavel Datsyuk ansd Henrik Zetterberg last week.
“Look at Datsyuk,” he said. “If you go full steam ahead at as guy like that he’s licking his chops, right? He’s going to dance around you and put you on SportsCenter. That’s probably a part of my game that helps out. I am pretty patient. I do play physical but I don’t run around too much. You have a healthy respect of what they can do.”
As for other lineup news, Braden Holtby [10-6-0, 2.62, .925] is expected to get the call tonight against Marc-Andre Fleury [12-6-0, 2.00, .921]. Holtby has a career record of 0-3-0 against the Penguins with a 4.52 GAA and .861 save percentage. In 23 games against the Caps Fleury is 13-7-2 with a 2.60 GAA, .912 save percentage and one shutout.