Ovechkin wins NHL first star of the week
Quick hits from Monday’s practice skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex:
Ovechkin first star: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been named the NHL’s “First Star” for the week ending Dec. 15, the NHL announced today.
Ovechkin led the NHL with five goals and tied for third with six points as the Capitals (18-12-3, 39 points) earned five out of a possible six points to maintain second place in the Metropolitan Division.
Ovechkin began the week by recording his third career four-goal game [and 13th career hat trick], including the tying goal with 32.4 seconds remaining in regulation, in a 6-5 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 10.
Ovechkin registered a goal and an assist, including the tying goal with 47.9 seconds left in the third period, in the Caps’ 5-4 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.
Three’s a crowd: With Michal Neuvirth back from his rehab start, the Caps had three goalies at practice, making for an interesting decision. Philipp Grubauer is 3-0-1 in his four appearances this season. Braden Holtby hasn’t played since allowing three goals on eight shots against Tampa on Tuesday.
Oates said Holtby is clearly the Caps’ No. 1 goalie and said there’s a “good chance” Holtby would start against the Flyers, who are expected to turn to Ray Emery.
Brooks Laich returns: One day after being placed on long-term injury reserve with groin pain, Brooks Laich returned to the ice. Laich skated for about 20 minutes before practice and practiced about 20 minutes with the team before heading to the locker room.
Grabo out: With Mikhail Grabovski missing practice with flu-like symptoms, Marty Erat filled in at second-line center. Capitals Adam Oates said Grabovski could join the team in Philly Tuesday morning.
Here’s the practice line combinations:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom – Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr – Marty Erat – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Jay Beagle – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta – Tom Wilson