Will Orlov finally get into Caps' lineup tonight?

Will Orlov finally get into Caps' lineup tonight?
November 30, 2013, 10:00 am
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Caps rebound, while Wizards streak ends

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Will defenseman Dmitry Orlov finally get a chance to play for the Capitals tonight on Long Island? Will goaltender Philipp Grubauer get his first NHL start of the season?

In Brooks Laich remains sidelined, will Marty Erat return to the lineup after requesting a trade?

The Capitals made a series of roster moves Saturday morning that could answer all three questions.

With backup goalie Michal Neuvirth sidelined by a lower body injury that occurred when he stepped on a puck during warm-ups before Friday night’s 3-2 shootout win over the Canadiens, the Caps recalled goaltender Philipp Grubauer from the AHL Hershey Bears.They also recalled Orlov and sent center Michael Latta back to Hershey.

[RELATED: Analysis of Washington's 3-2 win over Montreal]

Is tonight the night for Orlov?

The 22-year-old Russian defenseman has now been recalled by the Caps six times but has yet to play in an NHL game this season, prompting his agent to say Capitals coach Adam Oates doesn’t like the way he plays and that Orlov should be traded.

For that to happen Orlov would probably need to see some NHL action and it appears that will happen tonight.

Left-handed defenseman Alex Urbom took just three shifts for 2:15 of ice time in Friday night’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens and did not play after getting beaten behind the net on Danny Briere’s first-period goal.

Orlov ranks first among Hershey defensemen in points this season with three goals and six assists in 11 games. 

Orlov has 44 points [12 goals, 32 assists] and 48 penalty minutes in 76 career AHL games. In 65 games for the Capitals he has 20 points [three goals, 17 assists] and 18 penalty minutes. Orlov was drafted by the Caps in the second round [55th overall] in the 2009 NHL draft.

Is Grubauer ready? 

With tonight being the Caps’ third game in four nights, the Capitals’ plan was to start Neuvirth against the Canadiens on Friday and Holtby tonight against the Islanders, who have lost five straight. Holtby turned back 35 shots and was the game’s first star on Friday night. He’s likely to get the call tonight, but it would not be a stretch for the Caps to give him a rest and give Grubauer his second NHL start.

Grubauer, 22, has appeared in nine games with Hershey, posting a 4-4-1 record with one shutout, a 2.60 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Last season, Grubauer made his NHL debut on Feb. 27 in Philadelphia, stopping all 14 shots he faced in 25:05 of ice time. He made his only NHL start on March 9 at the New York Islanders, making 40 saves.

[RELATED: Neuvirth injured, but how badly?]

Will Erat return to the lineup?

Since requesting a trade for the second time this season, Caps forward Marty Erat has been a healthy scratch the past three games.

When Laich reported “tightness” in his lower body on Friday, Oates turned to Jay Beagle, who had not played since the second game of the season.Beagle centered a third line with Jason Chimera and Joel Ward on Friday night, while Latta centered the fourth line.

Now that Latta is back in Hershey, Erat would return to the lineup if Laich cannot play tonight. Oates called Laich’s absence from Friday night’s game “precautionary,” so it will be interesting to see who centers the third and fourth lines tonight.

Latta, 22, has four points [one goal, three assists] and seven penalty minutes in 16 NHL games, all with the Caps. Latta has played in six games with the Bears this season, collecting two goals and two assists and 25 penalty minutes.