OTTAWA | Speaking in general terms about Alex Ovechkin and the vital game Wednesday night, one Washington Capitals player stated what seemed to be the obvious.
“This is one of the most important games we’ve had this year and we’ll be without Alex,” he said.
Officially, coach Dale Hunter called Ovechkin a game-time decision with a “lower body” injury, though all indications from the morning skate were that he would be out of the lineup. Ovechkin tried testing out the injury by making some full strides before the morning skate but left the ice shaking his head after just eight minutes.
Keith Aucoin, called up from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Wednesday morning, figures to step into the lineup in Ovechkin’s place.
The lines will probably look a lot like they did during Tuesday afternoon’s practice in Raleigh, N.C., with Jason Chimera in Ovechkin’s usual spot on the top line, along with Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer. Mike Knuble was there for line rushes Wednesday night and will start there against the Ottawa Senators.
This will be the Caps’ fourth game this season without Ovechkin, though the first he will have missed with injury. They went 1-1-1 when he was suspended.