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Dowd Appears Set To Return, Capitals Loan Protas To Hershey

The Washington Capitals will likely get Nic Dowd back in the mix as he comes off IR and Aliaksei Protas heads back down to the AHL’s Hershey Bears.



WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals will likely see Nic Dowd return on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, as the 32-year-old has been taken off the injured reserve while Aliaksei Protas has returned to the AHL's Hershey Bears.

Dowd had been recovering from a lower-body injury he suffered on Jan. 16 against the New York Islanders following an awkward hit from Cal Clutterbuck. He has missed the last 12 games and recently got back into the swing of full practices.

Getting No. 26 back is a major boost for Washington, who is in the throes of a four-game losing streak. Dowd is the team's top penalty killer and a major asset as the fourth line center. He can win key draws and play well at both ends while driving and sustaining pressure in the offensive zone. He has already matched his goal total from last season and has 19 goals in 44 games, and he is on pace to establish a new career high in goals this season.

Meanwhile, Protas heads back to Hershey with the Capitals only allowed to carry 23 skaters. Protas, 22, has played in 43 games for the Capitals this season, dishing three goals and seven assists. He has played in just eight games with the Bears this season, racking up two goals and three assists.

With Dowd apparently back in the mix, Lars Eller will shift to the wing. Eller had been playing the role of the fourth-line center since Dowd went down with injury.

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