Capitals without Eller due to positive coronavirus test


The Capitals were without third-line center Lars Eller at practice Monday due to a positive COVID test, his second of the season, ahead of their game against the Islanders on Tuesday

Eller tested positive as the team returned from Vancouver after their west coast swing. It is unclear when he will return to the Capitals, which play Tuesday at home and travel to Columbus and Carolina on Thursday and Friday. 

“Just when you think it’s in the rearview mirror,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “But it happened, we still follow the rules and the protocols and things that are in place for our team.”

This quarantine period for Eller will be the second time he’s been stuck on the west coast after a positive test. In November, with the team in Anaheim, he tested positive and was forced to quarantine in California before returning to the D.C. area. 

Eller has nine goals and 14 assists in 53 games this season, including the game-winning goal Friday in overtime against the Canucks

“It’s a good thing he had the game-winner so his mental state is a little bit better staying in the hotel,” Tom Wilson joked. 

Absent Eller, the team skated a third line of Daniel Sprong, Connor McMichael and Wilson at practice. While Laviolette said they’ll have upcoming conversations about whether or not to bring up a 13th forward for Tuesday’s game against the Islanders or for the road trip, McMichael played at center during practice.

“Talking about confidence, when he’s playing his game, you can tell he’s a special player,” Wilson said. “We’ve played one game together and had a bunch of good looks. I was joking to him, he had three or four good looks and I’m like, ‘You gotta score one!’ We’ve got a fun relationship, he’s a good kid, so just trying to help him out. He compliments the line well, he’s smart, he gets into good areas to score and to help his linemates.”

With the deadline a week away and Eller still in Canada, it could make for a big week of roster moves for a Capitals team looking to make final additions before the playoffs begin in six weeks. 

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