NEW YORK | The Washington Capitals will be without Mike Green for Sunday night’s game at the New York Rangers, which means some changes on defense and the power play.
Veteran Tom Poti slides in on the third pair, while rookie Tomas Kundratek joins Karl Alzner on the top combination. John Carlson figures to get the promotion to the top power-play unit, and Kundratek could see a bigger role there.
“Well we’re gonna miss [Green’s point shot], but I think Kundy and Carly can shot hard as he is,” captain Alex Ovechkin said.
Kundratek has gotten power-play time just about since he got called up for the second game of the season.
“I feel pretty comfortable,” the 23-year-old Czech defenseman said. “It’s getting better and better every game, and it’s good to get some time in power play and it’s good that we’re doing well.”
Green (lower-body injury), right wing Joel Ward and forward Brooks Laich (groin) were the only players who made the trip to New York and did not take part in Sunday’s optional morning skate. Laich did off-ice exercises, while forward Marcus Johansson (upper body injury) did not go to New York.
Asked of Ward’s status, Oates said the team’s skate was optional and that Ward was healthy and would play Sunday night. Ward was on the ice for warm-ups Sunday evening.
Braden Holtby makes his fourth straight start and first at Madison Square Garden since losing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals May 12.
Here’s a look at the lines, pairings and an educated guess at the power-play units against the Rangers:
Wojtek Wolski - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mike Ribeiro - Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner - Tomas Kundratek
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Tom Poti