PHILADELPHIA | The vast majority of Washington Capitals players chose not to participate in Sunday’s optional skate in preparation for the Philadelphia Flyers, the morning after beating the Buffalo Sabres in a shootout. Just seven players took part.
Aaron Volpatti was one of those players, and he’ll be back in the lineup at the Flyers, replacing the ineffective Wojtek Wolski.
“Philly’s a little bit more physical,” coach Adam Oates said. “Just to get a little more physical presence just in case.”
Volpatti had been a healthy scratch the past seven games, but the Flyers have agitator Zac Rinaldo, so having the tough left wing in the lineup probably makes sense.
Wolski had zero points in two games back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the previous seven.
On defense, the Caps will go with the same lineup from Saturday night, even thought Tomas Kundratek is ready to go with his right knee injury. That means Jeff Schultz and Steve Oleksy are in and Kundratek and Dmitry Orlov are out.
“A little bit of balance, I don’t want to put a guy on his off side,” Oates said. “Schultzy’s played good, he did kind of what we asked of him yesterday in the media and I think he had a good solid game. Hopefully he doesn’t get taken out of the lineup.”
Defenseman John Erskine (upper body) could play Tuesday at the Carolina Hurricanes, Oates said. Once he’s healthy, the Caps will have nine defensemen and will need to make a roster move. Oleksy and Orlov do not require waivers, so either one could be sent back to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League at any time.
Braden Holtby makes his eighth straight start in goal, and Philipp Grubauer will serve as his backup because Michal Neuvirth wasn’t feeling well enough, Oates said. Ilya Bryzgalov starts for the Flyers.
Here’s a look at the projected lineup:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Brooks Laich - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti - Jay Beagle - Matt Hendricks
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
Jack Hillen - John Carlson
Jeff Schultz - Steve Oleksy