The Washington Capitals will be shorthanded yet again when they take on the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
After entering the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday, Evgeny Kuznetsov will head back to D.C. and will not travel to Winnipeg. Per The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, the team arranged for No. 92 to return home, and he does not have to quarantine in Chicago.
Washington has yet to have all of its usual centers in the lineup this season.
Also headed back to the District are Nic Dowd and Trevor van Riemsdyk; the two came off the COVID-19 protocol and played Wednesday, but per regulations, they cannot travel to Canada. In the meantime, the Capitals designed Dowd and TVR as non-roster players and recalled Brett Leason. Garnet Hathaway remains in Washington and is still on COVID-19 protocol.
After its 5-4 overtime loss to Chicago on Wednesday, Washington elected to stay in Chicago overnight and practice in the Windy City on Thursday. It looks like no new players entered protocol. Also, they saw some positive signs at practice. Tom Wilson, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, skated on his own in a non-contact jersey.
Both Kuznetsov and Wilson are tough losses for the Capitals up front. However, getting Nicklas Backstrom back was a major boost, as he was strong in the face-off dot and helped ignite some offense in his return, and said he felt good.
“Everything felt good. The hip felt good. I haven’t played a game in a while,” Backstrom said. “It’s going to take a couple games to get my timing back and stuff.”
Washington also woke up to find Alex Ovechkin atop the NHL leaderboard, ranking first in points (46) after yet another multi-point outing on Wednesday. He also tied Dave Andreychuk for the most power-play goals in NHL history.