After missing over a month of action, T.J. Oshie appears set to make his return for the Washington Capitals on Thursday against the New York Rangers.
Oshie took part in line rushes with the team at the morning skate at Madison Square Garden, skating alongside Connor McMichael and Lars Eller. He has been playing on that third line since returning to practice on Monday.
Head coach Peter Laviolette said after Thursday’s morning skate that he’s “hoping” Oshie is ready to go.
The last time the 34-year-old played was on Jan. 15 against the New York Islanders. He skated just 1:46 minutes and took two shifts before appearing to suffer an upper-body injury. Oshie did not return and had not practiced with the group until finally coming back for practice on Feb. 21. He was, however, around the facility and also got in some individual work on the ice, and skated on his own as well.
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Oshie has seen quite a bit of adversity this season, dealing with a multitude of upper and lower-body ailments while also dealing with COVID-19 and the flu. He has been limited to just 18 games this season, but still, he has made his impact known when he is in the lineup with five goals and 13 points.
The last time Oshie played at MSG was on May 5, in an emotional, passionate game that saw Oshie score a hat trick in his first game back after his father and longtime coach passed away following a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
The Capitals appear to be rolling with the same lines they’ve been skating with since Monday. Justin Schultz, who was day-to-day and missed last week’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, seems good to go.
Vitek Vanecek is also on the trip, though he doesn’t appear set to make his return. Per the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell, Vanecek was the third goalie behind Ilya Samsonov and Pheonix Copley.
Here are what the lines have looked like:
Alex Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Conor Sheary
Joe Snively-Nicklas Backstrom-Tom Wilson
Connor McMichael-Lars Eller-T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin-Nic Dowd-Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervary-John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov-Nick Jensen
Trevor van Riemsdyk-Justin Schultz