Laich said Wednesday he was a little nervous to see how his body would react to his first game action in more than three months. But after taking a few hits against the Penguins, including one that put strain on his right leg, with no ill effects, Laich is confident in his health.
“There was a collision I think with maybe Matt Niskanen on the first penalty kill. There was a contested puck on the boards,” Laich recalled. “When I was going for that puck that was my first, ‘OK this is the test for it.’ And we actually watched the video and it’s a collision like this and I’m on the right leg and I had no problems with that. That was the first indication to me that I’m able to compete and launch into piles.”
Mike Green took rushes and skated in drills alongside Karl Alzner for a second straight day and it’s possible he returns to the lineup against the Jets. Green said yesterday he planned on playing in Winnipeg Thursday, but Coach Adam Oates wasn’t as certain that the defenseman was ready. Once again Oates was cautious, calling Green a game-time decision.
Earlier this week Oates said that John Erskine, who has missed six straight games with what is believed to be an injured left hand or wrist, might join the team in Winnipeg but the rugged defenseman did not.
Braden Holtby gets the nod in net for Washington and will be opposed by Ondrej Pavelec (13-12-2, 2.73 GAA, .908 save percentage). Holtby had a 35-shutout in the Capitals 3-0 win on March 2 in their first visit to Winnipeg this season.
Wojtek Wolski, Aaron Volpatti and Joey Crabb all took part in extra work with the assistant coaches so they will likely be the healthy scratches among the forwards against Winnipeg.
Here’s what the lineup looked like at the morning skate:
Oleksy rotating in