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NHL Buzz: Kuznetsov healthy scratch for Capitals vs. Coyotes
Greig could return for Senators on Tuesday; Penguins defenseman Joseph skates, doesn't play at Flyers
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Evgeny Kuznetsov will be a healthy scratch against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena on Monday (9 p.m. ET; SCRIPPS, MNMT).
“Just a reset, a mental reset for him,” Washington coach Spencer Carbery said Monday. “He’s just been struggling of late to find his game. We’ve talked to him. We’ve looked at some different stuff. Think it’s a good opportunity for him to just take a step back, reset mentally and focus on getting his game back to where it’s capable of being.”
It's the first time Kuznetsov has been a healthy scratch since May 3, 2021, when he and then-teammate Ilya Samsonov were sat by then-coach Peter Laviolette. Monday would have been his 700th NHL game.
The forward didn’t play the final 5:54 of a 4-1 loss at the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. He played a season-low 15:20.
Still, he leads all Washington forwards with an average of 21:00 time on ice per game, which is tied for 10th in the NHL among forwards.
He has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 19 games, including one goal and one assist in his past seven.
The Capitals (12-7-2) had gone 7-2-0 before the loss Saturday.
Ridly Greig could return from a lower-body injury against the New York Rangers at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday.
"We're hopeful that he can go," Senators coach D.J. Smith said Monday. "I'll wait for the official go-ahead, but we're thinking he'll play."
Greig has missed 10 games since he awkwardly crashed into the boards when attempting a hit in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 2. He took reps at center with Mathieu Joseph and Dominik Kubalik on the third line in practice.
"Ridly plays hard every night,” Smith said. "He makes it hard on the other team, their [defensemen], he gets under them at the net, he can make plays in transition. He just gives an element that, to me, we're missing a little bit."
Forward Brady Tkachuk and defenseman Thomas Chabot each missed practice for maintenance but will play Tuesday. The Senators could dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen like they did Saturday, a 2-0 win against the Seattle Kraken.
"We'll make that call, but it's all going to come down to who's healthy," Smith said. "If guys are 50-50, do we need an extra guy if [someone] gets hurt early? Those are the determining factors." -- Callum Fraser
Pierre-Olivier Joseph took part in an optional morning skate, but the Penguins defenseman is still recovering from a lower-body injury and did not play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN-PIT, NBCSP).
Joseph missed his 14th consecutive game and 19th in the past 20 since Oct. 18.
Forward Noel Acciari (lower body) did not skate and missed his second straight game, but he is traveling with the Penguins, who began a three-game road trip.
"I wouldn't anticipate him playing on this trip, but I don't think he's going to be [out] an extended period of time," coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's my understanding."
Forward Matt Nieto (lower body) is not traveling.
Alex Nylander was in the lineup Monday after being recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. -- Adam Kimelman