(Keith Srakocic/Associate Press)


Veteran winger Joel Ward suffered a left knee contusion when he blocked a shot by Tampa Bay defenseman Sami Salo on April 7 and will miss a second straight game, Coach Adam Oates said.

Ward didn’t skate for a third consecutive practice Thursday and it’s uncertain when he will be able to return to the ice.

“He’s obviously still in some pain. We’re going to try and have him skate as soon as possible,” Oates said. “The bruising’s pretty severe, so as soon as it gets out of there, some swelling in the knee area because of the bruise. Contusion.”

On to other quick notes from the morning skate:

>> Martin Erat is on the ice for a third straight day but isn’t expected to face the Hurricanes at Verizon Center Thursday night. Oates is hopeful that Erat will be able to play against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Erat suffered an apparent left leg injury in the first period of Washington’s 4-3 win at the Florida Panthers on April 6.

>> Brooks Laich isn’t on the ice and is expected to miss a fourth straight game since suffering a lower-body/groin injury on April 4 against the New York Islanders. Laich is scheduled to meet with another specialist Thursday, following a consultation with groin specialist Dr. Michael Brunt earlier this week.

>> Braden Holtby will get the nod in net against Carolina after getting the past two games off as Oates wanted to give Michal Neuvirth playing time.

>> Here’s what the lineup looked like during the morning skate:


Schultz-Poti (healthy scratches)