The Washington Capitals appear to be finally closing in on their full lineup and will likely see some names draw back in against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Nicklas Backstrom, Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk are all set to make the trip to Chicago. Backstrom will take part in the morning skate before the team decides if he will play or not. Dowd and TVR, meanwhile, are expected to come off the COVID-19 protocol. However, they will not be able to play on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets, due to Canada’s COVID-19 rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, Tom Wilson did not skate Tuesday and remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury that he suffered in Friday’s loss to Pittsburgh. It’s unknown if he will make the trip at this time. Garnet Hathaway remains on COVID-19 protocol and will not travel on the road swing.
Backstrom missed the start of training camp and has been on the long-term injured reserve while rehabilitating a hip injury. No. 19 first made progress on his own, skating with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish before finally returning to practice with the team on Nov. 24. He was cleared for contact on Dec. 3 and took part in line rushes for the first time on Monday. On Tuesday, he remained on the second line centering Conor Sheary and T.J. Oshie, and that appears to be the combination the Capitals will start him on.
READ MORE ON WHN: Backstrom Opens Up About Recovery, Return To Capitals
Dowd and TVR practiced with Washington on Monday and Tuesday. Dowd centered the fourth line with Carl Hagelin and Beck Malenstyn. Van Riemsdyk drew back in on his usual pairing with Justin Schultz.
“I’m feeling good, happy to be back,” Dowd said.
“I tested negative all the way up to the point of Friday morning and then at that point you test and they pull you right out of the group as soon as the positive comes back… we were fortunate,” Dowd said. “I had the vaccine and stuff and we were fortunate I was the only one in my family that tested positive. It wasn’t too bad for me. Probably a really bad head cold, I’d describe it as.”
As a result of these moves, Brett Leason and Matt Irwin drew out of the lineup.
Here were the lines at Tuesday’s skate:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Aliaksei Protas
Conor Sheary-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie
Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-Daniel Sprong
Carl Hagelin-Nic Dowd-Beck Malenstyn
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Justin Schultz