Nicklas Backstrom won't play in Sunday's matinee contest against the Nashville Predators because the Capitals center is sporting 14 stitches in his leg after the puck went through his shin pad when he was blocking a shot against Columbus on Friday.
Backstrom blocked two shots in Friday's game, one at even strength and one short handed, but Coach Bruce Boudreau said this fluke injury wouldn't prevent the Capitals from continuing to use Backstrom on the penalty kill.
"That's a freak thing that happened, but one of the reasons we want him killing [penalties] is because of what he did," said Boudreau, who added that Backstrom will be ready for the regular season opener against Atlanta. "He blocked shots, he's not afraid. He's very smart and anticipatory, as good as anybody. We want him to play, and we think he can play 22-23 minutes a night."
-- Michal Neuvirth will start today's preseason finale and is scheduled to play half. "But I can change my mind," Boudreau said.
-- I'll post the lineup after warmups.