The Washington Capitals were already without Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie for Friday’s showdown, and now, they lose one of their most reliable centers in Nic Dowd. The 31-year-old went down hard in at the team’s morning skate and appeared to injure his left leg.
Head coach Peter Laviolette is not sure if Dowd will play against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, and said that call-up Brett Leason will make his debut if Dowd is unavailable. He thinks that Dowd’s ailment is something that’s “lingering.”
“I’m not sure at this point. Obviously, him leaving the ice is not an ideal situation leaving the ice pre-game skate, so we’ll evaluate that,” Laviolette said.
Dowd suffered an injury Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames after getting tangled up with Blake Coleman. He was day-to-day with a lower-body injury and didn’t make Washington’s trip to Ottawa, where the Capitals defeated the Senators in a wild 7-5 victory.
If Dowd is out, Washington will have just 12 healthy forwards remaining on the roster. The Capitals placed Oshie on the IR Friday and listed him as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. Oshie blocked a Danny DeKeyser shot in the third period of Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings and appeared to be in pain and favoring his right foot.
READ MORE ON WHN: Capitals Recall Brett Leason, Place Oshie On Injured Reserve
Backstrom, meanwhile, remains on the LTIR but has been making progress. He’s been skating on his own in full gear and will likely get into more intense practice when he gets more comfortable.
Leason said that he’ll be excited if he gets the call to play on Friday and will just look to play his game and utilize his size, skating and strength.
“It’s a tricky situation obviously with Dowder going down,” Leason said. “The coaches just came up to me and said, ‘Be ready.’ You never know what can happen, so if I get to go tonight for the first one, I’ll be excited.”
Dowd leads all Capitals centers in face-off win percentage (59.5) and is also a major asset on the penalty kill. His line with Carl Hagelin and Garnet Hathaway has also been one of Washington’s best.