By Ian Oland
Nicklas Backstrom is doing his best Sidney Crosby impression this season. After playing in his first game of the season on Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks, Backstrom is out again.
The Swedish center was announced out for the Winnipeg Jets game due to COVID-19 protocol.
#Caps center Nicklas Backstrom is unavailable due to the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) December 17, 2021
The Capitals, who are special because of Alex Ovechkin and their top-tier center talent, will now be without Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Nic Dowd due to protocol. Garnet Hathaway and Trevor van Riemsdyk will also be out of the lineup due to COVID. Anthony Mantha remains on LTIR due to a shoulder injury.
Connor McMichael or Aliaksei Protas will likely move to center and the Capitals will likely go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the game, per Mike Vogel.
With Backstrom out tonight, Caps will likely need to move either McMichael or Protas from wing to C and are almost certain to go with a 7D/11F alignment. They're without Backstrom, Dowd and Kuznetsov in the middle.
— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) December 17, 2021
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports that Backstrom learned of his COVID issues before the Capitals entered Canada. The team sent him home to quarantine.
Backstrom did not travel from CHI to WPG. Like Kuznetsov, arrangements have been made to get him back to DC. #Caps https://t.co/pyGqGoxGZ9
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) December 17, 2021
The Capitals take on the Winnipeg Jets at 8 PM tonight. Across the NHL, several teams have been sidelined through the Christmas Break due to the disease.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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