The Washington Capitals got on the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex on Friday for their second straight day of practice after returning from the All-Star break and their bye week.
Thursday’s practice saw injured forwards Tom Wilson and Nic Dowd test things out before the rest of the team took their full skate. According to The Athletic’s Tarik El Bashir, neither skater was present on Friday as the Caps prepare to travel to Boston to take on the Bruins in their first game post extended time off on Saturday.
El-Bashir also reported on Thursday that Wilson was sporting a pretty “noticeable limp” as he departed the ice surface. The 28-year-old winger initially suffered his latest lower-body injury in the Capitals’ game against the Colorado Avalanche on January 24.
Wilson went to one knee to block a Mikko Rantanen shot and was struck by the hard shot in the ankle area of his right leg. He ended up skating just nine total minutes in that game before departing and never returning.
That late January matchup was just Wilson’s eighth game of the season since returning from major offseason knee surgery. The big forward has recorded three total points (2g, 1a) in those games.
“Right now, he’s still day-to-day,” head coach Peter Laviolette said on Thursday. “That was a first step for him. Didn’t come with us to practice but certainly good to have him back on the ice.”
It was a similar story with Dowd who has been out even longer than Wilson with his own lower-body ailment that he suffered against the New York Islanders on January 16.
Dowd has been excellent for the Caps this season. His next goal will tie his career high in a single season (11). His goal-scoring rate per 60 five-on-five minutes (1.32) is higher than Alex Ovechkin’s (1.13), and when he’s on the ice opponents score at a rate lower than all but four full-time forwards.
“He took a spin today,” Laviolette said. “Still on the [injured reserve], right now. Moving in a direction where we get to see him on the ice. It’s not immediate but hopefully, he can keep pushing in the right direction.”
Without the two for practice yet again, Lavy went with the same exact lines that he started Thursday’s practice with. That group features Nicolas Aube-Kubel filling in for Wilson and Lars Eller centering Dowd’s usual fourth line.
The Caps are preparing for a unique return to action after not playing since January 31. They start in Boston against a Bruins team that has an absurd 22-1-3 record on home ice this season. That game has a 3:30 pm puck drop and then they’ll be right back on the ice on Sunday afternoon (1:30 pm) at Capital One Arena against the San Jose Sharks.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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