10:08am: The Washington Capitals were going to be close to full strength, but Dmitry Orlov will not be available when they take on the Boston Bruins tonight. The veteran defenseman has entered the COVID protocol and missed the team’s morning skate, one that was attended by both T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom, back from a stint on injured reserve.
Orlov, 30, has been his usual reliable self this season, playing 21 minutes a night for the Capitals and chipping in offensively. Through 36 games he has 17 points, good enough to tie him for fifth on the team in scoring. Losing him, even if it is just for this one game, will leave a hole on the Washington blueline. Luckily, the team doesn’t play again until Saturday, allowing the potential of Orlov getting through the protocol in the minimum five days and missing just one game.
While that may not be very realistic, the team will at least have two other veterans back as Oshie and Backstrom return from their non-COVID illnesses. The team also had Ilya Samsonov on the ice at practice, but appear to be going with Zach Fucale for tonight’s match, according to Tom Gulitti of NHL.com. Through three appearances, Fucale has allowed just a single goal while he has been in the net–and watched Carl Hagelin put it into the empty Washington cage on a delayed penalty.