Johansson took line rushes in warmups, but after the team went back to the locker room, the team announced he wouldn’t play. That moved Andre Burakovsky up to second-line left wing, where Johansson has been all season, and Stanislav Galiev was inserted on the fourth line with Tom Wilson on the third. Johansson was held out for several preseason games for “a wrenched back.”
Burakovsky also took Johansson’s role on the power play, working the goal line and willing to be the net-front presence. Burakovsky screened the goaltender for the team’s lone goal by Nicklas Backstrom.
Trotz said the injury was “a little tweak” that he suffered playing against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Johansson played all 82 games for the first time last year, reached a career-high 20 goals and added 27 assists. This season, he has five goals and eight assists, and he’s fourth on the team in even strength points per 60 minutes with 1.94. Missing Saturday’s game ended a stretch of 106 consecutive games for Johansson.
A restricted free agent at the end of last season, Johansson and the Capitals went to arbitration, which resulted in a one-year contract worth $3.75 million. The 25-year-old Swede will return to restricted free agency after this season, when the arbitration process could begin anew, or he could sign a longer deal with Washington before then.
The Capitals have two extra forwards in Galiev and Chris Brown.