On Monday, the Washington Capitals vanquished the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in 20 years. Two days later, during the team’s first practice before Round Three, the Capitals were without one of their best players over the last decade-plus.
Center Nicklas Backstrom, who injured his right hand during Game Five against the Penguins and did not play during Game Six, did not join the team out on the ice for practice. The team termed the injury day-to-day. Backstrom’s status for Game One versus the Tampa Bay Lighthing is unknown at this time.
The news wasn’t all bad. The Capitals did welcome two players back.
Here are the lines from Isabelle.
Backstrom is not practicing. Has a right hand injury. We’ll ask Trotz about his status later.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) May 9, 2018
Lars Eller centered the second line in Backstrom’s absence while Travis Boyd remained the third pivot. Nathan Walker, who tallied an assist and was sensational in his first ever playoff game, was an extra skater.
First-line forward Tom Wilson returned to his rightful place between Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin, and will play Friday for the first time since being suspended three games for an illegal check to the head.
Swedish winger Andre Burakovsky also returned to Capitals practice donning a blue no-contact jersey. Burakovsky has been out of the lineup since suffering an upper-body injury April 15 during Game Two of the Caps’ first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) May 9, 2018
Via NBCSW’s Tarik El-Bashir, Burra was handling and shooting pucks.
— Tarik El-Bashir⌨🎙🏒 (@TarikNBCS) May 9, 2018
Last week, Burakovsky was seen skating prior to practice, but did not do any stick-handling or shooting.
Rachel Cohen also contributed to this article.
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