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Posted at 02:26 PM ET, 10/20/2010

Tom Poti returns to the ice after injury

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

After missing the past three games, Washington Capitals defenseman Tom Poti was back on the ice last night logging considerable minutes in a 3-1 loss to Boston at Verizon Center.

Poti had been out with an undisclosed lower-body injury. That setback followed an eye injury from taking a puck to the face in Game 6 of Washington's first-round playoff series loss to Montreal last season.

"I wasn't one hundred percent, but I felt okay," said Poti, who played 20 minutes 31 seconds, more than any other defenseman except John Carlson. "It's good to be back in game action. Just trying to get the timing down is the big thing."

Poti, who recently signed a two-year, $5.75 million contract extension, was a big part of the Capitals' penalty-kill unit with 2:55 on the ice in those situations. Only Jeff Schultz and Carlson were on the ice more often when Washington was shorthanded.

Poti also had a chance in the closing minutes to draw Washington within a goal, but his stinging bid didn't make it past Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who stopped 35 shots. Thomas, the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner, has allowed two goals over the past three games.

"Tonight was weird," Poti said last night. "I thought we played really well. We outplayed them and didn't get the win. A couple other games where we didn't play that well but got the win, so I guess the karma bug bit us back tonight. We had some really good chances to score. We just couldn't finish them off."

While Poti was recalibrating himself as he recovers from this early-season ailment, his right eye has healed from that frightful moment when a wayward puck struck him, causing temporary blindness.

He now wears a visor, and was not the least bit tentative in his return against the team he followed religiously growing up. Poti is Boston through and through. He was born in in Worcester, Mass., played college hockey at Boston University and now lives in Cape Cod during the offseason.

An early-season homecoming is on the horizon for the veteran defenseman. The Capitals' next game is on the road against the Bruins tomorrow.

"It's always nice to play the team you idolized growing up," said Poti, 33. "It's always fun, and you get a little more jacked up for these games."

By  |  02:26 PM ET, 10/20/2010

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