Capitals could gain multiple reinforcements for Game 3 against Rangers

NHL: New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Capitals could have a different look to their lineup when they host the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Friday.

Rasmus Sandin and Nick Jensen were full participants in the morning skate and one or both could return from injury. Getting the two veteran defensemen back in the lineup would be huge boost to for the Capitals, especially in their top-four on the blue line.

However, Capitals coach Spencer Carbery is not giving away too much regarding their status.

“I will find out post practice,” Carbery said with a smirk. “This is a positive step, where they’re not wearing non-contact (jerseys). They’re getting closer and closer.”

It looks like it will be a game-time decision for the two defenseman.

Related: 3 keys for the Rangers in Game 3 against Capitals

Rasmus Sandin, Nick Jensen could return for Capitals in Game 3 against Rangers

NHL: Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes
Rasmus Sandin and Nick Jensen of Washington Capitals — James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Sandin sustained an upper-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on April 7. It was an apparent shoulder injury that kept him out for the remainder of the regular season and first two games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 24-year-old played 68 games during the regular season, registering an NHL career-high 23 points (three goals, 20 assists)) and was second on the Capitals averaging 21:07 in ice time. He was also fourth on the team with 106 blocked shots.

Jensen was stretchered off the ice after a scary collision against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 13. The upper-body injury kept him out for the remainder of the regular season and first two games against the Rangers, as well. In 78 games this season, the 33-year-old logged 14 points (one goa, 13 assists), was second on the Capitals with 123 blocks and tied for third in ice time (19:38).

With the two defensemen looking to slot back into the lineup for Game 3, it would mean that one or both of Lucas Johansen and/or Dylan McIlrath would be a healthy scratch.

It also appears that rookie forward Ivan Miroshnichenko will slot into Washington’s Game 3 lineup The 20th overall pick in the 2022 draft looks like he will make his NHL playoff debut in Game 3 after skating on the fourth line at practice Thursday. In 21 NHL games this season, Miroshnichenko registered two goals and four assists. The speedy 20-year-old also had 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 47 AHL games with Hershey.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel could be the odd man out for the Capitals.

“He doesn’t have to save the world,” Carbery said. “He doesn’t have to come in and be the best player on the ice or do anything spectacular. We’re just looking for energy, competitiveness, and him to give us solid minutes inside of our lineup.”

Additionally, Sonny Milano is confirmed to be good to go for the Capitals after the forward missed practice Thursday for maintenance reasons. Vincent Iorio was absent from Washington’s morning skate and most recent practice, and it is assumed the defenseman will not play in Game 3 because of an upper-body injury. Iorio was injured in Game 1 when checked hard by Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere in the second period.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0 and can take a stranglehold on it with a win Friday. The underdog Capitals expect to be a desperate team in front of their home crowd in Game 3, and could have an extra boost if Jensen and/or Sandin can play.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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