Travis Boyd ready to make his season debut for Capitals


ARLINGTON, Va. — Travis Boyd will be the Washington Capitals’ fourth-line center for Monday night’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers, marking Boyd’s season debut after a lower-body injury sidelined him for about five weeks.

“Not that it’s ever good timing to get hurt, but not being able to play the first 10 or 11 games, 12 games of the year where that’s kind of where you’re breaking the rust off yourself and getting into it,” Boyd said after the team’s morning skate. “Kinda getting thrown into it a little cold, but I think I’ve watched enough of the team here over the last month and been around all the video meetings and everything like that. Hopefully after the first couple shifts I’ll settle in nicely.”

Boyd played two games over the weekend for the AHL affiliate Hershey Bears on an injury conditioning assignment.

“He is fresh off playing some games, game action,” coach Todd Reirden said. “I talked to him on his drive back after the game on Saturday about how he was feeling, and I thought … he is getting into a bit of a rhythm and routine now. 

“Now you wait and maybe this is a good opponent as well for him to play against just in terms of how the style of play Edmonton plays,” the coach added.

Boyd will play on a line with Devante Smith-Pelly and Jakub Vrana. Boyd and Vrana go back to their time as prospects with the Bears.

“I’m happy to see Vrana on my left because I know he likes to make plays,” Boyd said. “I like to make plays too. So I think we’ll be thinking the same thing out there. We’ll get our old chemistry going and hopefully we can make something happen tonight.”

To make room for Boyd’s salary in the cap, the team waived Nathan Walker on Sunday. Walker cleared waivers Monday and was assigned to Hershey.

Elsewhere in the lineup, Dmitrij Jaskin has been bumped up to the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov for Monday’s game, and Pheonix Copley will start in goal.

“We kind of had it planned before and liked how [Copley] played in Calgary and wanted to get him a home game and home start,” Reirden said. “[We’ve] got to be able to build that position as well and give him opportunities and, as has been the case, we will see if he can take advantage of that opportunity.”

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