CAPITALS (45-11-4) at BLACKHAWKS (38-20-5)
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN
Season series: The Washington Capitals defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 at Verizon Center on Oct. 15. John Carlson and T.J. Oshie each had a goal and assist among four Capitals with multipoint games; Braden Holtby made 26 saves. Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling allowed four goals on 24 shots in his first game of the season.
Capitals team scope: Washington placed defenseman John Carlson (lower body) on injured reserve Saturday and waived veteran forward Brooks Laich. Carlson had a procedure to fix a lingering injury, could miss 3-4 weeks, and might get placed on long-term injured reserve, Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. Laich, 32, will travel to Chicago and is expected to play if he is not claimed. Washington would have 30 days to reassign him to Hershey of the American Hockey League without needing to clear waivers again. The decision is related to the NHL salary cap with the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m. ET. "That's really the [hockey operations] side, managing the cap, all those things," Trotz told the Capitals website Saturday after practice. "It's a way to give us more flexibility. It's a way to allow [general manager Brian MacLellan] to do more if there's anything out there that can help our hockey club." Injured forward Jay Beagle (hand surgery) could be activated from LTIR after being re-evaluated. Recently acquired defenseman Mike Weber practiced for the first time with the Capitals and might play. Holtby is expected to start.
Blackhawks team scope: Chicago had three of four recently acquired players at practice Saturday, including forward Andrew Ladd making his return to the Blackhawks after being re-acquired from the Winnipeg Jets in a trade Thursday. Forward Tomas Fleischmann and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff also practiced. Fleischmann and forward Dale Weise were acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, and Ehrhoff was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings. Weise, who's waiting for his U.S. work visa to be approved, said he is excited at the prospect of playing on the same line as Fleischmann again, with center Teuvo Teravainen. "We played the first 25 games together this year [in Montreal]," said Weise, who has 14 goals and 26 points. "We got put together in training camp the second day and took off from there. The chemistry between me and him was unbelievable from the start. I loved playing with him." Fleischmann skated at right wing on the third line during practice. Ladd was at left wing on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw. Goalie Corey Crawford will make his third straight start. Forward Jiri Sekac, acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 21, was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Coyotes. Rookie defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who practiced, was reassigned to Rockford of the AHL.