The Washington Times - April 29, 2011, 12:45PM

Mike Knuble and Dennis Wideman again stepped onto the ice with the Capitals’ “Black Aces” and are expected to miss the first game of the second-round series against the Lightning on Friday night.

Knuble, who was hurt in the Rangers series, appears closer, but took the ice with Wideman and the Caps’ healthy scratches at Kettler on Friday morning.


“I’m betting there’s a good chance that he’ll be back before the season is over,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Knuble.

Boudreau also noted that “everybody else is looking good, too,” though there’s no clear timetable for Wideman’s return to team practices and contact let alone game action. That’s why it would take a miracle of sorts for either Knuble or Wideman to play early in this series.

“We’ve got to get [Knuble and Wideman] in team practices, obviously, before they’re going to go,” Boudreau said. “And they’ve been off a while so they got to get their conditioning down pat.”

The decision for when that happens will be left up to trainers, Boudreau said.

With those two out, the Caps are expected to ice the same lineup as Game 5 of the Rangers series. That means Brooks Laich on the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr in, on the fourth line.