Good morning from a very crowded Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. As the Caps prepare for Game 5 against the Rangers tomorrow afternoon, they do so in front of a packed house full of fans young and old that seem to be taking advantage of a Friday off as part of this long weekend.
The only forward missing from drills today appears to be Mike Knuble, who is still nursing an undisclosed injury believed to be affecting his hand. With Knuble questionable for tomorrow's game, it looks as though Brooks Laich will slide up to the top line to take his spot, just as he did to end Game 4 in New York on Wednesday. Chimera, who started on the top line against the Rangers two nights ago, is back in a more familiar spot, skating on the third line (or the "Wheels Line"), with Johansson and Fehr.
As the Caps spend some time running 5-on-5 drills, the line combinations are as follows:
The defensive unit continues to skate with the same 9 blueliners that have been out there at every practice since the playoffs started. The only defenseman not participating in the full contact drills remains Dennis Wideman, who continues his recovery from a leg hematoma in an effort to be ready at some point during the playoffs.
Both Neuvirth and Varlamov are manning their respective ends of the ice today, per standard procedure. With Neuvy having picked up three wins in four starts so far in this series, there is little reason to believe that we will see any change in net tomorrow afternoon.
Joining the full coaching staff on the ice today, GM George McPhee is perched on the balcony over the bench soaking it all in.
That's about all from KCI this morning. Be sure to check back later for more pregame analysis in anticipation of tomorrow's 3pm game.