Ovechkin tripped, gets penalty shot
Capitals captain and leading scorer Alex Ovechkin is expected to miss his first game of the season with an upper body injury when the Caps visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.
A team spokesman said on Thursday that Ovechkin would not make the tams trip to Philadelphia.
Ovechkin leads the Capitals with 10 goals and 15 points, which rank second and seventh in the NHL, respectively.
Capitals coach Adam Oates said Ovechkin told him he was “sore” in the first period, leading to speculation Ovechkin may have injured himself on a breakaway attempt on his first shift, when he crashed into Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo and was awarded a penalty shot.
If Ovechkin misses Friday night’s game it will be the first time he’s been out due to injury since Feb. 22, 2012, a 5-2 loss in Ottawa.
Ovechkin has 10 of the Capitals’ 34 goals this season.
“I think he has what, 30 percent of our team’s goals?” teammate Troy Brouwer said. “So anytime you miss a player like that it’s pretty detrimental. We’re going into a building [Wells Fargo Center] that’s tough to go into and against a team that has a lot of offensive weapons. We’ve got to find ways to keep them off the scoreboards before we go on the offensive.”
With Ovechkin sidelined, the Caps are expected to go with a top line of Marty Erat, Nicklas Backstrom and Eric Fehr. Marcus Johansson was dropped to a second line with Brooks Laich and Brouwer.
Four of Ovechkin’s 10 goals this season have come on the power play. His absence could give Joel Ward, Laich and perhaps Tom Wilson some time on the man-advantage.
“He’s got the best one-timer in the game from that spot [in the left circle],” Brouwer said. “If he does miss some time, guys are going to have to shoot a little more.”
With Ovechkin missing, here’s what the Caps’ lines looked like on Thursday:
Marty Erat – Nicklas Backstrom – Eric Fehr
Marcus Johansson – Brooks Laich – Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera – Mikhail Grabovski – Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti – Michael Latta.Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson