DETROIT – Mike Green is questionable to play against the Red Wings and the Capitals wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the defenseman suffered a concussion when he was hit into the boards during the first period against Columbus on Thursday.
Coach Adam Oates called Green a game-time decision, but it appears unlikely that the defenseman will suit up if only as a precaution. Given the uncertainty about Green’s status, the Capitals recalled Tyson Strachan from the AHL’s Hershey Bears Friday afternoon and reassigned forward Ryan Stoa.
Green, 28, was injured when Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner finished a check 13:17 into the first, smashing Green’s head into the glass and twisting his shoulder awkwardly on the play.
If Green is unable to play, it will further stretch Washington’s limited defensive depth. Green averages the second-most ice time on the team (22:51), behind only John Carlson, is a key part of the power play and recently had appeared to find his timing with jumping up in the play as evidenced by his two goals against Buffalo on Tuesday.
“He’s the leader of our back end back there,” Troy Brouwer said. “Guys look up to him, guys feed off him and read off him how he’s playing in the game and he’s a big part of our offense from the defensive end as well.”
>>Michal Neuvirth gets the start in Detroit as expected on the second of back-to-back nights. He’s only faced the Red Wings once in his career, a 3-2 loss on March 16, 2011, at Joe Louis Arena in which he made 32 saves.
>> The Capitals held an optional skate this morning in which only five players who played in Thursday’s loss at Columbus took part. Those who did skate were Brouwer, Tom Wilson, Connor Carrick, Casey Wellman, Aaron Volpatti, Stoa and Neuvirth.
>>Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who missed the past two games with a sore back, is back in the lineup. Detroit has had quite the injury bug this year but getting Zetterberg back will be a definite boost for them.
For as uneven a season as the Red Wings have had – they’ve uncharacteristically struggled at home, going 9-11-8 at Joe Louis Arena – they are in the thick of the hunt for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference just as the Capitals are. Entering tonight’s game Detroit has one more point (57) than the Capitals, and these home-and-home games Friday and Sunday are important for both teams as they try to gain a foothold in the standings.
>>Projected lineups for both teams.
Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco
Joakim Andersson-Darren Helm-Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Patrick Eaves
Jonathan Ericsson-Niklas Kronwall
Kyle Quincey-Danny DeKeyser
Jakub Kindl-Brendan Smith
Jimmy Howard will start, Jonas Gustavsson will back up.