Marcus Johansson will make his return to the lineup Sunday afternoon against the Rangers after missing the past 12 games with a concussion. Johansson, who passed a neuropsychological test on March 5, last played on Feb. 7 at Pittsburgh but has declined to say when he began experiencing concussion symptoms.
Coach Adam Oates said he believes that Johansson is ready for game action once again.
“I hope so. It’s tough. No one has the magic answer with that injury, nobody,” Oates said. “When you have that injury, when you come back, I don’t think it’s his conditioning in terms of skating. More bumping and feeling in position where he feels to come in the lineup and play. He told me yesterday that he’s there.”
Johansson recorded just one point, a goal, and a team-worst minus-7 rating in the nine games he played before suffering the concussion. He bounced around the lineup, playing everywhere from the top unit to the fourth line and even sat out a few games as a healthy scratch.
“I told him for me and him it’s like a fresh start. You’ve had a chance to watch some games the team’s been playing better hockey lately,” Oates said. “You get to see that, you get to see what we want what to be a part of and I really just want him to skate, be relentless, make good decisions and use his strengths.”
Meanwhile the Capitals will be without rugged defenseman John Erskine, who suffered what appeared to be an injury to his left hand or wrist Saturday in the loss to the Islanders. Erskine took warmup but was ultimately deemed unable to play, I’ll have an update on his status from Oates after the game.
Faceoff: 12:30 p.m. Verizon Center | TV: NBC | Radio: 106.7
Discuss the game in the comment section below and based on warmups here’s what the lineup should look like:
Goal: Holtby, Neuvirth.
Scratches: John Erskine (hand/wrist), Wojtek Wolski, Mathieu Perreault.
IR: Mike Green (groin), Jack Hillen and Brooks Laich (groin, non-roster).