Brooks Laich returns to Caps’ lineup vs Ducks, Philipp Grubauer to start

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27:  Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) scores a backhanded goal against Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) during first period action on November, 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

(Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

After missing the last 11 games and nearly a month with the latest flare up of a groin injury, Brooks Laich will return to the Capitals’ lineup Monday night against Bruce Boudreau and the Anaheim Ducks.

Laich, 30, will start the contest as fourth line left wing as Coach Adam Oates looks to ease him back intoaction considering he hasn’t played since Nov. 27 against Ottawa. If Laich shows no signs of rust or hesitation, though, there’s a possibility he could move up the lineup as the contest progresses.

“He wants me to get into the game, feel the game a little bit and then if I’m feeling good maybe give me a few more minutes or if it looks like I’m a little bit behind maybe keep the minutes a little bit lower,” Laich said. “My discussion with George [McPhee] this morning he said, ‘Well can you give us 8-12 minutes tonight?’ I said, ‘I feel like I can give you 20’. I feel that healthy and that good.”

Laich maintains that this recovery has gone better than previous ones because he believes they’ve identified the source of some of this lingering groin pain as a problem in his back. But only time will really tell.

With Laich back in the mix, Aaron Volpatti will sit as a healthy scratch.

>> Philipp Grubauer will make his fifth start of the season tonight and face the red-hot Ducks, who arrive in Washington having won eight straight. Tough matchups and environments haven’t fazed Grubauer yet in this nearly month-long stint with the Capitals, so it will be interesting to see how he fares against an aggressive team like Anaheim with several talented power forwards.

“He played good against Carolina and he’s been hot so just going to ride him,” Oates said.

>> Michael Latta, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, was on the ice again Monday morning but isn’t ready for game action quite yet.

Capitals
Johansson-Backstrom-Ovechkin
Fehr-Grabovski-Brouwer
Chimera-Erat-Ward
Laich-Beagle-Wilson

Alzner-Carlson
Orlov-Green
Erskine-Oleksy

Grubauer, Holtby.

Ducks
Dustin Penner-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Daniel Winnik-Mathieu Perreault-Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano-Saku Koivu-Jakob Silfverberg
Tim Jackman-Nick Bonino-Kyle Palmieri

Francois Beauchemin-Bryan Allen
Cam Fowler-Ben Lovejoy
Mark Fistric-Hampus Lindholm

Jonas Hiller is expected to start.

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