“It was a really courageous game with what we are facing right now,” said Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette.
No matter how thrilling and fun the comeback victory was, the victory was completely overshadowed by the Capitals’ growing infirmary roster. Nicklas Backstrom and John Carlson were late scratches for the game joining Alex Ovechkin (lower body), Evgeny Kuznetsov (COVID protocol) and Ilya Samsonov (COVID protocol) out of training. During the game, Tom Wilson was injured in the first half, returned in the second and never looked quite the same. TJ Oshie was injured late in the second period and did not come back.
Meanwhile in Hershey, Michal Kempny was injured by an ice scraper.
Laviolette was asked about injuries after the game.
“Everyone… everyone has a lower body injury,” said Laviolette exasperated.
“We didn’t rest anyone. If we had had guys who were where they needed to be to play, the roster would have been different. We have dressed all the players available for us tonight.
The last time the Capitals played without Ovechkin, Backstrom and Carlson was 10/4/16 (the Caps rested players in the regular season finale).
This is the first time they have played a game without Ovechkin, Backstrom, Carlson and Kuznetsov since Kuznetsov made his NHL debut on 3/10/14.
– Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 8, 2021
With the team seven to eight days away from Game 1 of the playoffs, Laviolette was asked if bad luck was a problem.
“There is always concern,” Laviolette said. “We had another day off tonight. There is always concern. We’ll see where we are when we have a few days here. We have one game left that we have to manage and finish, and then we’ll go from there.
Top points-getters de WSH
Backstrom – injured
Carlson – injured
Oshie – injured
Ovechkin – injured
Wilson – play through?
Kouznetsov – Covid
Vrana – traded
– RMNB (@russianmachine) May 9, 2021
Since the Capitals couldn’t win in settlement, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the East Division title, giving the Capitals the second seed in this year’s playoffs. They will face the Boston Bruins or the New York Islanders in the first round.
It’s unclear if all of the Capitals’ injured players will be fully healed by the start of the series, but the team has instead focused on the here and now: what they accomplished on Saturday.
“I don’t know how we did it, to be honest,” Lars Eller added. “I don’t remember missing so many guys and guys who crashed in the game.”
RMNB coverage of caps versus flyers