Updated 1:03 p.m.: Neither Martin Erat nor Joel Ward will be in the Capitals’ lineup Tuesday night when they take on the second-place Montreal Canadiens at Centre Bell, even though both wingers are on the trip with the team.
Although he didn’t participate in the full workout Tuesday morning, Erat went out on the ice late for some light skating. While it’s encouraging to see Erat, who suffered an apparent left leg injury in Saturday’s 4-3 win at the Florida Panthers, there is no timetable for his return.
“Feeling okay. Seeing how everything’s going to go,” Erat said following his roughly 40 minute workout at Centre Bell. “It feels great to be back on the ice and just see how it’s going to go from there.”
Erat suffered the injury in the first period against the Panthers Saturday when Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson delivered a late hit that sent the 31-year-old Czech winger crashing into the boards with his leg taking the brunt of the impact.
“I didn’t see him at all,” Erat said of the hit by Gudbranson. “I knew somebody was behind my back but I play the puck and didn’t expect he was going to hit me that late.”
Ward, who was unable to finish Sunday’s 4-2 win against Tampa Bay after taking a shot by Lightning defenseman Sami Salo off his left leg, didn’t take to the ice at all Tuesday morning and instead road the stationary bike.
“Wardo’s still hurting pretty good from that shot,” Coach Adam Oates said. “He came on the trip just in case he got better but he just wasn’t feeling good this morning.”
With neither Erat nor Ward able to play against the Canadiens, Wojtek Wolski will be making a return to the lineup. Wolski took rushes as the second-line left wing, and tonight figures to be his first game since March 30 at Buffalo and just his third appearance in 15 games.
In other injury news, Tom Poti, who has missed 11 games with a back problem, is here in Montreal with the team and took part in the morning skate. He was paired with Jeff Schultz for drills, though, so it seems unlikely that he will suit up against the Canadiens.
Brooks Laich, who suffered a lower-body injury on April 4 against the Islanders, did not travel with the team. He is back in Washington and expected to meet with groin specialist Dr. Michael Brunt, who performed sports hernia surgeries on both Mike Green and Ward last season, Tuesday.
In net, Michal Neuvirth will make a second straight start for the Capitals and gets the nod against Montreal tonight.
Here’s what the lineup looked like during rushes: