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Capitals' Orpik to be game-time decision

Washington defenseman could return for Game 1 against Pittsburgh

by Katie Brown / Correspondent


Eastern Conference Second Round

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik will be a game-time decision for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Verizon Center on Thursday, coach Barry Trotz said.

"He's been out there a couple days," Trotz said. "He's feeling good. I haven't talked to our trainers yet, they just got off the ice. But it looks like a good chance."

Orpik sustained an upper-body injury during Game 3 of the first round by a hit from Philadelphia Flyers forward Ryan White. Orpik has been participating in full practices but said he has not been medically cleared to play.

"Hopefully they give me a decision today," Orpik said after the Capitals' optional morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "It's out of my hands."

If Orpik can't play, either Taylor Chorney or Mike Weber will play in Game 1. Trotz said he's comfortable with plugging either one into the lineup.

"It gives us lots of flexibility," Trotz said. "They bring different things. You get some size and some really good defensive play with Mike Weber. He's hard to play against. [Chorney] has got a little bit of both, where he's hard to play against, he's got some mobility. Our depth there has been exceptional all year."

Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, who missed two practices because of maintenance days, said he will play in Game 1.

Alzner averaged 22:43 of ice time in the first round.

"Just took a couple days," Alzner said. "Lot of bumps and bruises; tough series. I feel fine. I feel happy now. It's like the All-Star break. You get a few days off and come back and feel refreshed. It's all good."

Penguins forward Conor Sheary, who also took two maintenance days this week, said he will play Thursday.

"My first series I think I was playing a lot of minutes and just some little things that were nagging me," Sheary said after the Penguins' optional morning skate at Verizon Center. "I feel good about it this morning."

Matt Murray will start in goal for the Penguins. Braden Holtby will start for the Capitals.

Here are the projected lineups:


Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Eric Fehr

Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl - Matt Cullen - Bryan Rust

Olli Maatta - Kris Letang

Trevor Daley - Ian Cole

Brian Dumoulin - Ben Lovejoy

Matt Murray

Jeff Zatkoff

Injured: Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), Kevin Porter (ankle), Scott Wilson (lower body)

Scratched: Justin Schultz, Oskar Sundqvist, Beau Bennett, Derrick Pouliot


Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Mike Richards - Marcus Johansson

Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Nate Schmidt - John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Injured: Brooks Orpik (upper body)

Scratched: Mike Weber, Stanislav Galiev, Michael Latta

Status update: Fleury was on ice for the Penguins' optional morning skate Thursday but there is no timetable for his return.

Who's hot: Crosby had five points in the final three games of the first round against the New York Rangers. … Backstrom had seven points in six games in the first round.

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