Asked if Backstrom is expected to play in Arizona on Saturday night, Trotz said, “We’ll see where he is tomorrow.” Washington can afford to be cautious, as the team has already clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. Though he was a full participant at morning skate, Backstrom wasn’t made available to the media.
The Capitals’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers was a bruising one, and though Backstrom was on the receiving end of some big hits, he didn’t miss a shift during the game. Here’s one example:
With Backstrom out, Evgeny Kuznetsov will take his place on the first power play and Marcus Johansson will center a top line of Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. Johansson played first-line right wing the last game, and before that, he had been the team’s third-line center.
“It’s tough when you miss a couple guys here and there because it changes things a little bit,” Johansson said. “It’s a good thing that I can play both winger and center right now. We’ve missed a couple of different guys in different spots; it’s a long season, and those things will happen. Sometimes there has to be some small changes to fill in the spots and all that.”
Here’s what the lineup is expected to look like on Friday night:
Alex Ovechkin-Marcus Johansson-T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams
Jason Chimera-Jay Beagle-Tom Wilson
Daniel Winnik-Mike Richards-Stanislav Galiev
Karl Alzner-Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt-John Carlson
Brooks Orpik-Dmitry Orlov
Braden Holtby (starter)
Nicklas Backstrom (upper-body injury)