ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals got a welcome sight at Wednesday’s optional skate, as Nicklas Backstrom returned after missing Tuesday’s practice.
Backstrom had missed the skate due to personal reasons. However, head coach Peter Laviolette said after the skate that he expected him to travel to New York. Daniel Sprong had filled in for him at second-line center.
The 34-year-old has been making a strong impact since returning to the lineup with four goals and 14 points in 19 games. He said that he’s feeling good since returning from a lengthy hip rehabilitation process that sidelined him for the first few months of the 2021-22 campaign. Backstrom was Washington’s leading scorer in 2020-21 with 53 points in 55 games.
“I don’t feel any soreness or anything. I just need to start to play better,” Backstrom said.
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Backstrom has been skating on the second line with Joe Snively and Tom Wilson and sometimes with Alex Ovechkin and Conor Sheary. Looking at Tuesday’s Capitals line combinations, it appears that No. 19 will be between Snively and Wilson as the team faces the Rangers.
Anthony Mantha was also on the ice. He is still in a non-contact jersey.