The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in preparation for their game against the Florida Panthers at Verizon Center.
Five players took their options this morning: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Mike Ribeiro and Joel Ward.
Braden Holtby, who was the goaltender of record in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins despite coming in in relief of Michal Neuvirth, will start for Washington. No word on whether Scott Clemmensen or former Cap Jose Theodore will start for Florida.
Marcus Johansson will be the healthy scratch on the forward side for the Capitals. I guess you could call MoJo a yo-yo; he has been shuffled up and down Washington's lineup all season, from starting on the top line with Ovechkin and Backstrom to watching from the press box. Johansson spent the last two games in the top six, even scoring his first goal of the season in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but head coach Adam Oates said that the Capitals "need more execution" from the 22-year-old.
"His confidence might be one of the problems about the play," Oates said. "We...didn’t get enough in Pittsburgh."
Brooks Laich (groin) will not play Saturday, but Oates said that he is close to being cleared for contact. Laich has yet to play this season after suffering the injury while playing in Switzerland during the NHL lockout.
Meanwhile, on the defensive end, all Capitals defensemen minus Roman Hamrlik will take pregame warm-ups. Poti was a late scratch Thursday with an upper-body injury and is a game-time decision.
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