The Washington Capitals held an optional morning skate before their Wednesday night matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks. On the ice was Nicklas Backstrom who appears set to make his season debut after an extensive hip rehab process.
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette when asked about number 19’s status against the Blackhawks told the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell that, “Nick is on the ice, he’ll go through evaluations. Everything looks good for Nick, he will come off the ice and talk to the trainer.”
Backstrom has yet to make an appearance for the Capitals since Game Five against the Boston Bruins in last season’s playoffs. He has been skating on a line with Conor Sheary and TJ Oshie at this week’s practices and took part in power play work in his usual half-wall position.
Here’s how the Capitals lined up at their last full practice before tonight’s game, via Pell.
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that both Trevor van Riemsdyk and Nic Dowd will make their returns from the COVID-19 unavailable list, while Tom Wilson will remain out as he still works back from an upper-body injury. Wilson made the trip but is currently skating in a non-contact jersey.
Dowd and van Riemsdyk will both depart the team when the final buzzer goes off in Chicago as they cannot travel into Canada to take on the Winnipeg Jets due to their recent issues with COVID. Garnet Hathaway will not factor into either game as he remains in protocol.
The last bit of news is that according to El-Bashir, Ilya Samsonov will get another start in net. Samsonov last started against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 10, taking the loss. He is 11-2-1 on the season with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .915-save percentage.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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