ARLINGTON Va. — The Washington Capitals will be without center Jay Beagle Thursday night when they open their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 p.m.; WFED 1500AM).
Beagle missed the final three games of the regular season with an upper-body injury and did not practice with the team earlier this week. On Thursday, Beagle took part in the Capitals’ morning skate wearing a noncontact jersey.
Beagle is the Capitals most reliable center in the faceoff circle- he led the team with a 58.5-percent success rate in the circle — and a key cog on the Washington penalty kill. Beagle led all Capitals forwards with an average of 2:31 of short-handed ice time per game.
With Beagle missing Game 1, greater responsibility will fall on rookie Chandler Stephenson, who will be making his NHL postseason debut.
“I’ve had pretty good trust in Chandler since he came up,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “He’s got a real good skill set. I think he can be really effective for us.”
Below is the Capitals anticipated lineup for Game 1:
8 Ovechkin -92 Kuznetsov — 43 Wilson
65 Burakovsky — 19 Backstrom — 77 Oshie
13 Vrana — 20 Eller — 25 Smith-Pelly
10 Connolly — 18 Stephenson — 39 Chiasson
9 Orlov — 2 Niskanen
6 Kempny — 74 Carlson
44 Orpik — 28 Jerabek