Capitals forward Brooks Laich will not play against the Boston Bruins tonight with what appears to be a recurring groin injury, while newly acquired Jaroslav Halak will back up Braden Holtby in his first appearance in a Capitals uniform, the Washington Post is reporting.
It’s hard to say which news was more surprising.
Before Wednesday night’s game against the Flyers, Laich downplayed the fact that he missed Tuesday’s practice with what Adam Oates described as a recurring groin injury.
“It’s just the schedule,” Laich said. “We have a lot of games coming up and you try to take advantage of it when you can.”
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin seemed a little more concerned about the long-term health of the veteran left wing/center.
“Most important thing is he has to be healthy,” Ovechkin said. “He’s a leader on our team and we’re going to miss him if something bad happens. He has to be careful. I told him, ‘If you feel sore just keep your game for the future, for the playoffs.’”
Laich, 30, scored a goal and played 18:34 in Wednesday night’s 6-4 loss in Philadelphia. He’s missed 15 games with groin pain this season.
Perhaps even more surprising is that Holtby will return to the nets for his sixth straight start after allowing four goals on 18 shots to the Flyers on Wednesday.
It was widely assumed that Halak, who is 8-3-0 in his career against the Bruins, would make his Capitals debut after the Caps acquired him from the Buffalo Sabres for Michal Neuvirth on Wednesday.