Nicklas Backstrom: ‘I think I’ll play tonight’

March 18, 2011

Capitals No. 1 center Nicklas Backstrom took full part in the morning skate at Prudential Center, including the line rushes and said afterward that he believes he will be in the lineup tonight against the Devils. Coach Bruce Boudreau said he would be a game time decision.

“It feels good, I’m ready to go,” Backstrom said. “I think I’ll play tonight. If I play, I know I’m 100 percent.”

Backstrom missed the last five games, the first absence of his NHL career, when the team decided to put his left hand and fractured thumb in a fiberglass cast to give it a chance to heal after the Swede aggravated the injury against Tampa Bay on March 7. Backstrom’s thumb was broken back on Feb. 21 against Pittsburgh by a slash from Penguins’ defenseman Kris Letang.

If Backstrom is back in the lineup it appears as though he will skate on the second line with Marco Sturm and Alexander Semin, while the line of Alex Ovechkin, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble, which has gelled well in recent games, remains intact.

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