The Capitals will receive an automatic upgrade to their lineup this afternoon when they visit Montreal.

Captain Alex Ovechkin is set to return having completed his three-game suspension for his hit on Pittsburgh’s Zbynek Michalek on Jan. 22. Below is an excerpt from the story that ran in Saturday’s hard-copy edition.

For three games, Alex Ovechkin perched in press boxes watching the Washington Capitals compete without him. For three games, he sat in a suit alongside members of the coaching staff, smacking his hand on a countertop rather than finishing a shoulder check when he observed something he didn’t like on the ice.

On Saturday, Ovechkin is back after serving the longest suspension of his NHL career when the Capitals visit the Montreal Canadiens for a matinee meeting at Bell Centre.

Given Washington’s position outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture heading into back-to-back games this weekend, a rested Ovechkin is a welcome addition for a team already playing without Mike Green (sports hernia) and Nicklas Backstrom (concussion).

Ovechkin said he is ready to come back.

“I am pretty excited. I’m fresh. I feel like I miss hockey a lot,” Ovechkin said. “It’s pretty hard to watch the games, you can’t help your teammates. You can’t help the guys to win the games.”

Check out the full story from today’s paper here.

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