The Capitals have been hit hard by the injury bug late this season, and with star left wing Alex Ovechkin now out with an undisclosed injury, the lineup will change around even more heading into the playoffs.
A quick list of other injured players: Defenseman Mike Green (concussion) hasn’t played since Feb. 25. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been out since Feb. 26 with a knee injury but is scheduled to return this week. Top-line center Nicklas Backstrom missed five games with a fractured thumb. Trade-deadline pickup Jason Arnott will likely be absent for a fourth consecutive contest with what multiple sources said is a groin injury. Right wing Eric Fehr has been out the past two games after re-injuring his right shoulder but could return tonight.
In his latest On Hockey column, Tarik El-Bashir noted that the slew of recent injuries could make it difficult to players to develop a routine entering the postseason:
Players like to have some continuity as the playoffs approach, and Boudreau typically uses the final games of the regular season to cement his playoff lineup.
There are only nine games remaining, and if Ovechkin's layoff began Monday, it's possible he'll miss the next five contests. Jason Arnott, meantime, is sidelined with a groin muscle strain and could miss the next three games, if not more.
It creates a pair of enormous holes in the Top 6, and when Ovechkin and Arnott return, it will trigger a ripple effect throughout the forward lines.
Are you concerned that the Capitals won’t be able to stay consistent down the stretch? Will the chemistry will be off for the top six forwards, if and when they’re all healthy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.