With Lars Eller, Capitals will Again Dress 7 Defensemen


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Forward Lars Eller will not play in Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus) forcing the Capitals to dress seven defensemen and 11 forwards for the third time this season. Eller is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury.


The team last dressed seven defenders on Thursday when Eller was out for personal reasons, but Peter Laviolette raised eyebrows by playing Jonas Siegenthaler for just 28 seconds, putting him in for the final game-changer.



"We went with a plan to play 11 forwards and double-shift people to try and keep the lines, I think as familiar as we've been in the last couple of games," Laviolette said. "So we decided to just double the shift of the three centers and (T. J. Oshie) in the middle between (Conor Sheary) and Richard Panik, and we were going to play six defenders."


Trevor van Riemsdyk will be the seventh defender in Monday's win over Siegenthaler, but given the top-six on defense remains the same, we probably shouldn't expect him to get much game time.


With Eller only day-to-day, the team can't get cover relief or an emergency call for his absence. With Tom Wilson suspended, the team's only option to dress the full squad is to dress the seven defenders.


But that's not what Laviolette likes to do, and admittedly he struggles to manage seven in the game.


"So it becomes very difficult to juggle seven defenders," Laviolette said. "You do it because if you have injuries or if something pops up on the bench, you have dressed the player and you dress up to a maximum of 20. ... It's hard to roll seven. It takes people out of the loop and they lose the rhythm with different partners."


Laviolette was asked if he would consider playing van Riemsdyk at forward, but Laviolette said it would be difficult to do with a missing player at the center rather than the wing.


"We talked about this at the beginning of the year," Laviolette said. "It's a central position, I think it's a bit easier when it's a striker. You can take the D-man and put him on the fourth line on the wing. Even the defenders probably aren't very comfortable with it, you'd have to have some experience doing it, but you can get away with it. But I think it gets more significant because it's a central position; it's in the middle of the ice, it's face-to-face, it's covering low, and things like that. We'll probably just play the way we played. We'll use our bench and we'll get through it ."

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