The Washington Capitals have nothing at stake Saturday in their 82nd game of the season, so the team is taking the opportunity to give some of their key players a rest.
T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Braden Holtby will sit for Saturday’s season finale against the New York Islanders with the playoffs coming up in a few short days.
Back-up Pheonix Copley will start in net and play the full game.
In Saturday’s morning skate, forwards Dmitrij Jaskin and Chandler Stephenson and defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler — all of whom have been healthy scratches for some weeks — were in the lineup in place of Oshie, Backstrom and Carlson.
Alex Ovechkin will play, however. Ovechkin likely wants to stay on pace to win the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the league’s goal-scoring leader; he leads the NHL with 51 goals, only two ahead of the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl.
Washington clinched their fourth straight Metropolitan Division title Thursday by beating the Montreal Canadiens. The Capitals can’t improve its playoff standing; they’re sure to draw the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 wild card, which could be the Carolina Hurricanes, the Columbus Blue Jackets or the Pittsburgh Penguins.