Beagle returns, Vrana sits as Caps host Columbus in Game 2


ARLINGTON, Va. — Center Jay Beagle will return to the Washington Capitals lineup tonight for Game 2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7:30 p.m.

“I feel good,” Beagle said after Sunday’s morning skate. “The extra two days here [between games], were big for recovery. I feel really good. I’m excited to get my first playoff game in 2018.”

Beagle missed the final three games of the regular-season and Game 1 of the postseason with an upper-body injury. The Blue Jackets took the series opener 4-3 in overtime.

With Beagle returning, rookie Jakub Vrana will sit as a healthy scratch. Vrana skated 6:58 in his NHL postseason debut Thursday in Game 1 and had the primary assist on a Devante Smith-Pelly goal in the third period.

Vrana also drew an Ian Cole hooking penalty early in the first period, but the 22-year-old struggled with puck management and committed multiple turnovers.

“We felt that this is the lineup we need to go with tonight,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “I thought [Vrana] made a really good play on the goal. He didn’t have a lot of ice time, and there’s some things we need to clear up in his game and get him a reset. We’ll see where we are next game.”

Brett Connolly will take Vrana’s spot on the third line and skate alongside Lars Eller and Smith-Pelly. Connolly had 15 goals and a career-high 27 points in 70 games during the regular season.

“I just think Conno, for him, I thought he is had a real good second half in terms of his overall game,” said Trotz. “It’s been pretty decent. So, I think an opportunity, him and Lars seem to have some chemistry, which they’ve had the last couple years. I think that could hopefully be a real good line for us.”

Below is the Capitals projected Game 2 lineup:

8 Alex Ovechkin — 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov — 43 Tom Wilson

65 Andre Burakovsky — 19 Nicklas Backstrom — 77 T.J. Oshie

10 Brett Connolly — 20 Lars Eller — 25 Devante Smith-Pelly

18 Chandler Stephenson — 83 Jay Beagle — 39 Alex Chiasson

9 Dmitry Orlov — 2 Matt Niskanen

6 Michal Kempny — 74 John Carlson

44 Brooks Orpik — 28 Jakub Jerabek

31 Philipp Grubauer

70 Braden Holtby

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos, Shane Gersich, Travis Boyd

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