Coach Bruce Boudreau said that John Erskine won’t suit up tonight against the Sabres but that the Capitals don’t expect him to miss more than one game at this point. Erskine, who did not play the final 36 minutes against Columbus, suffered an undisclosed injury Thursday likely in a fight with Jared Boll and after taking part in a long scratches skate only said he was feeling “better”.
“He’ll be out tonight. Again it’s more of a precautionary thing,” Boudreau said of Erskine. “He’s hurt but at the same time we think he’ll be ready to play in Toronto Tuesday.”
That means Sean Collins, who cleared waivers and has been officially recalled from Hershey will be on tonight’s roster.
As for why the Capitals made the decision to recall Sean Collins, who played 15 games with Washington back in 2008-09, Boudreau said the team wanted to bring in another right-handed defenseman. Of the Capitals’ healthy defensemen, John Carlson is the only one with a right-handed shot.
“When we called him up two years ago for  games he played very good for us,” Boudreau said. “We’re hoping we can catch that lightning in a bottle again and see how it works out.”
Collins said he would be paired with Tyler Sloan, so the other defensive pairings will be the usual Karl Alzner-Carlson and Jeff Schultz-Scott Hannan combinations.
It’s been since that stint in 2008-09 that Collins has played in the NHL and the 27-year-old said he just hopes to get over the slight nervousness he might feel early on and do as much as he can to help the Capitals. Collins has appeared in 73 games for the Bears this season, registering 20 points (four goals) and has a plus-29 rating.
“It’s an opportunity for myself,” Collins said. “I just want to help the team out whether I play 10 minutes or five minutes or 20 minutes. Just play my game and do whatever I can to help the team out.”
--Michal Neuvirth will make his second consecutive start tonight. With four games remaining in the regular season this is the time Boudreau has historically set aside for one of the goaltenders to get in a rhythm prior to the playoffs.
--With 15 healthy forwards, Boudreau is running through something of a rotation of healthy scratches. Against the Sabres, Matt Hendricks will take a seat with Eric Fehr returning to the lineup.