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Capitals Notebook: Backstrom, Orlov, Oshie Return To Practice; Maintenance Days For Four

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Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom

ARLINGTON, V.A. – The Washington Capitals got encouraging news on Thursday, as three key pieces of the lineup returned to practice on Thursday. Nicklas Backstrom, Dmitry Orlov and T.J. Oshie were all on the ice for the skate.

Orlov exited Tuesday’s skate early and headed to the dressing room, accompanied by athletic trainer Jason Serbus. The 30-year-old blueliner was then listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Meanwhile, Backstrom and Oshie had been out with non-COVID illnesses. Connor McMichael also missed Tuesday’s practice with a non-COVID illness but returned on Wednesday.

It’s a great sign for the Capitals, who return to game action on Friday as they face the Blues in St. Louis. They last played on Sunday, falling to the New Jersey Devils 4-3 in overtime.

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Orlov has been a key part of the blue line’s success this season with four goals, 17 points and a team-leading +/- of plus-20. His pairing with Nick Jensen has also been a staple this season.

Backstrom has played in just three games for Washington this season after returning from the long-term injured reserve in December and being placed on COVID-19 protocol soon after. Still, he has picked up three assists in as many games this season.

Oshie has also had his fair share of injury struggles and has only played in 16 games this season, picking up four goals and 12 points.

With Backstrom back, Washington will have all four centers in the lineup for just the second time this season. And, with Oshie back, the Capitals will see their entire first power-play unit skate. Of course, this is dependent on if both end up playing.

Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and John Carlson were absent, taking maintenance days. Washington has been utilizing the long layoff between games for “mini training camp” style practices.

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