Other than Alex Ovechkin, it hasn’t been a good week for Washington wingers.
In their past three games, the Capitals have lost two forwards to injury. First, it was Brooks Laich, who left last Thursday’s 2-1 shootout win over the Islanders with a lower-body injury. Coach Adam Oates said Laich’s latest ailment is not directly related to the groin injury that kept Laich out of the first 28 games of the season.
Then, it was Martin Erat, who had to be helped off the ice during the first period of Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Panthers after he was crunched into the boards. Erat, acquired just days earlier in a trade with the Nashville Predators, also suffered a lower-body injury.
The Capitals avoided one more injury during Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Lightning. Joel Ward took a shot off his left leg in the third period and did not return, but he should not miss any time.
Oates provided updates on Laich and Erat before Sunday’s game. Laich is scheduled to see renowned groin specialist Michael Brunt, who performed sports hernia surgeries on both Ward and Mike Green last season, Tuesday in Washington. Laich will miss Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens.
“They can’t quite get a handle on what it is,” Oates said. “He just doesn’t feel good.”
As for Erat, Oates said the 31-year-old “felt way better than he anticipated” and shouldn’t miss considerable time.
Either way, the Capitals, winners of four straight and eight of their past 10 games, feel as if they can counteract their recent injury woes simply by sticking to the system.
“That’s why we’re winning hockey games now,” forward Nicklas Backstrom said. “We’re working harder, working together as a team and that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to chip in for each other, and that’s what we did.”